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Unions provide their take on the meeting with the Minister of General Affairs

Unions provide their take on the meeting with the Minister of General Affairs

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The local media houses ran a press release captioned “Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs meets with CCSU membership,” the Unions said in a press statement on Wednesday.

The press release continues as follows: “Where the presence of the representatives of the various Unions that form part of the Committee for Civil Servant Union (CCSU) was detailed.

“Prime Minister Jacobs, who in that setting is referred to as Minister of General Affairs as in that role she attends to the affairs of the Civil Servants where it pertains to their legal status as employees of the Government.

“We the Unions find it very disheartening that after a year of explaining to the Prime Minister the difference of a meeting with the Committee for Civil Servant Union (CCSU) and the Unions is not the same. In meeting with the unions, the interest of ALL workers is represented.

“These Unions are separate entities with operating boards that represent workers from varying parts of the community. When necessary they come together as a collective body of unions under the umbrella of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions. (WICLU)

“It is constantly being reported that the Prime Minister met with the Unions when the Prime Minister met with the CCSU. The role of the CCSU which is known as a committee governed by law, is where discussions should take place when changes to the working conditions of the civil servant are to be discussed.

“When Laws that will affect the civil servant is proposed to be implemented, where it pertains to civil servants’ remuneration, changes to the renumeration or anything that would influence their working conditions. Note must be taken that this committee only represents Civil Servants and not the private sector.

“The Windward Island Chamber of Labour Unions has requested numerous meetings with the Prime Minister, to date the Unions have not been successful in having this request honoured.

“The first step, before any negotiations can take place in the CCSU or any unilateral decision is made such as the changing or implementing of any law, should be a dialogue with the Unions as these are the entities that represent all the workers that are 99% of the time affected by these changes. The membership of the CCSU are members placed there by the union to represent the civil servants on behalf of the union.

“In our opinion, the organisation previously referred to as the GOA (Georganiseerde Organisatie Ambtenaren zaken) which was changed as explained by the personnel department, to the English translation Committee of Civil Servants Union (CCSU) this is what has confused the whole situation, because the Ministers feels that the CCSU are the people representatives instead of the Unions.

“However, the Prime Minister in her many elucidations on the floor of parliament stressed the independence of the CCSU thus it is very confusing for the Unions to understand how the Prime Minister cannot distinguish between the two. The workers cannot complain to the CCSU as they are not paying any dues to the CCSU, they complain and hold the Unions who they are paying dues to accountable.

“The Unions is kindly requesting the Honourable Prime Minister to please stop the erroneous announcement in Parliament, and the various media including Social Media that she met with the various Unions or that the Unions refused to meet with her.

“We the Unions are kindly requesting the Chairperson of the CCSU to inform the Minister of General Affairs that in the setting of the CCSU she is not meeting with the unions but with a committee that looks out for the wellbeing of the Civil Servants based on the Law that is found in Chapter X of the Landsverordening Materieel Ambtenarenrecht,” the Unions press release concludes.

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