Civil servants count the days until Cola payoutPOSTED: 07/24/12 1:04 PM
St. Maarten – President of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions/Private Sector Union (Wicsu/PSU) Derie Leonard says that her membership is eagerly awaiting the government’s payout of the Cost of Living Adjustment (Cola) from the year 2010.
“The main concern of the civil servants is of course the Cola. We are waiting to see if that will be paid out. It was promised to be paid out faithfully at the end of this month,” Leonard.
The union declined to say if any form of industrial action would be forthcoming if the finance minister does not honor his word. However Today Newspaper understands that all workers representatives have started mobilizing their ranks for a series of counter measures if the Cola is not paid before August to avoid a heavy tax burden when teachers and civil servants receive vacation allowance and annual salary increase.
The Cola amounts to 17 million guilders but was not part of the approved 2012 budget. Finance Minister Roland Tuitt said that the payment will be made anyway and deal with administrative issues later.
“The way that is being chosen is via a pre-payment. Once the documentation is in place, we will have to get an LB (landsbesluit) because it was not budgeted. We will pay it out once nothing extraordinary happens in St. Maarten,” Tuitt said.
The Board of financial supervision (Cft) advised in June that the government rethink the way it structurally adjusts salaries.
“This is not good budgeting. If the government wishes to continue with these payments in the future, they will need to budget for it,” Cft chairman Age Bakker said of the Cola payout procedure.
With a less than a week left, Leonard said that she sincerely hoped there would be no set back.
WICSU/PSU says it has also recorded a small victory for its members at the Sonesta Maho resort.
“They wanted to send employees home with a package based on their age but we fought that to the last and they are still working,” a satisfied Leonard noted.