Union discussed situation at Gebe with minister MarlinPOSTED: 08/17/12 12:02 PM
St. Maarten – A detailed discussion on Gebe and the refusal of the utility company’s management to sign the collective labor agreement for unionized workers was focus of talks between the Windward Institute for Organized Labor (Wifol) and Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin on Wednesday.
The meeting was eagerly sought after by the union for Marlin’s intervention in the impasse. Wifol president Theophilus Thompson said that Marlin assured that he would look into the matter “and we hope to have a speedy resolution to this delay.”
Thompson said that it is imperative that the situation be remedied as soon as possible.
“Without the CLA being signed the workers will be deprived of a number of benefits such as their exact job description and the accuracy of salary adjustments,” Thompson stated.
Thompson said that Marlin also gave an explanation as to why he held the meeting with the principals of the Simpson Bay Resort Management Company and what matters were discussed. Though Thompson refused to discuss the content of Marlin’s justification on his private meeting with the embattled resort at Captain Oliver’s Restaurant he stressed that “we were satisfied with the explanation that he gave.”
Just last week the union leader said that Marlin’s meeting was suspicious, sent the wrong signals and could have provoked workers since the union was not privy to the discussions.
Thompson also fielded questions on his involvement on his prior relationship with Royal Resorts, the parent company of SBRMC.
In 1996 he visited Cancun, Mexico for a fact finding mission as the vice president of the Caribbean Hotel and Casino Workers Association, he said.
“On my visit to Cancun before Royal Resorts came to St. Maarten at the time of the bankruptcy we had to verify that they were a bona fide organization because there were many groups in the Bahamas that were lobbying to operate Pelican Resort at the time.”
He stated that contrary to rumors being circulated he has not met with the principals of SBRMC outside of the official realm for union negotiations on behalf of the workers.
Thompson also claimed that he has never received kickbacks from the resort and was still on the side of the workers.
Wifol was instrumental in bringing Royal Resorts to St. Maarten in 1996 and we have had a good relationship with management in making sure that they stayed in St. Maarten, the trade unionist said.
However, “the relationship changed since the auction.”