Common Court rules in August on Simpson Bay Resort dispute

POSTED: 06/28/12 11:54 AM

St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice will rule on August 31 on the dispute between the Simpson Bay Resort and Royal Resorts on one side and the Wifol union on the other. Yesterday morning parties met again in court for their final arguments.
The sort wants the court to overturn an April 2 ruling that obliges it to pay $50,000 in damages to Wifol and to rehire all former employees of the former Pelican Resort and pay them based on the collective labor agreement. Currently, 91 of the former Pelican resort workers are employed by the resort by without a collective labor agreement and on lesser conditions.

mr. Jairo Bloem, acting as the attorney for the resort, told the court that the Wifol has been spreading conspiracy theories and suggestive remarks, basically badmouthing the organization. “Wifol also says that the Common Court does not have sufficient affinity with the social reality in St. Maarten. That is typical for the whole process of the past one and a half year.”
Attorney Bloem once contested the union’s position that the Pelican Resort had been silently transferred to the new organization and that the Simpson Bay Resort was therefore held to abide by the collective labor agreement. Bloem also contested Wifol’s argument that Royal Resorts had an absolute control over the resort.

mr. Wim van Sambeek told the court that the case is about people. “Many people are depending for their income on the resort. They do not understand why the resort shoves the court ruling of April 2 so haughtily aside. Most of these people,” he said, pointing to the Wifol-members in the public tribune, “want to go back to work. Currently 91 of them are working at the resort but against significantly lower salaries. And the resort does not want to talk with anybody, so consultation about a return to work or about redundancy pay is not possible.”
The attorney said that, according to his client, there are Spanish speaking temp workers active at the resort that do not have legal papers. “This looks like a reversed 80/20 regulation.”

mr. Van Sambeek furthermore noted that, before the Pelican Resort was auctioned off in December 201, the employees had been assured that nothing would change for them. “Royal Resorts had the absolute control over collective labor agreements and over hiring and firing people. The formal employer had nothing to say in the matter.”
mr. Bloem noted that the interest of the former employees has to be weighed against the interest in continuity for the company. “There are 91 employees right now who have an interest in the continuation of the company. It generates $50 million a year for the local economy. But in the past one and a half year, the number of timeshare owners has dropped from 12,000 to 8,900.”
Van Sambeek: “People are angry because their work is being done by people without a legal title. They are angry because they have been without an income for more than five months.”

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