PHILIPSBURG–President of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions (WICLU) Claire Elshot says the unions are and have always been ready to sit with the Council of Ministers in continuing discussions on moving forward. But they will not accept salary cuts.
Elshot made this statement during the Consumers Coalition/Anti-Poverty Platform press conference on Thursday, in response to Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs
. During the weekly Council of Ministers live press briefing on Wednesday, Jacobs asked for the unions to put a stop to their avoidance of having a discussion with government. “We are not out to get the civil servants or any workers on St. Maarten, we are actually fighting to [avoid taking – Ed.] any further measures that would hurt the people of St. Maarten … we need cooperation and collaboration at all levels,” said Jacobs.
This came as a shock to Elshot, who said the unions had not only been open to, but had been requesting to formally meet and sit with the Council of Ministers for some time. She expressed that such a statement made to the public was quite unfair to the unions.
Elshot assured that the unions had all come together and drafted a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was then presented to the Council of Ministers. A meeting was then requested for September 7.
She said the unions welcome a sit-down with the minister, but not with the agenda point to discuss salary cuts for workers; instead the unions wish to discuss and establish the MoU.
“We are still awaiting that invitation as unions to sit with the Council of Ministers [to] discuss and present an MoU with a number of points to benefit the workers of St. Maarten,” said Elshot. “We have said from day one, no cuts for the workers.
“At this point in time, our objective and our goals as unions are to guarantee and to safeguard the workers against exploitation [and] against violations of their rights.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/index.php/islands/unions-ready-to-meet-pm-but-won-t-accept-salary-cuts