De Weever congratulates hospital on new agreement

POSTED: 07/11/11 12:30 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Cornelius de Weever has urged the management of the St. Maarten Medical Center and the Windward Islands Healthcare Union Association, which represents the hospital’s employees, to continue communicating with each other and to jointly create a fair and safe working environment. His encouragement is part of a message delivered on his behalf at the ceremony where a new Collective Labor Agreement (C.L.A) was signed.

The Minister called finalizing the agreement his first challenge after taking office. By his own admission he did little than give parties time to breathe before resuming their negotiations.

“My contribution to this initial challenge was very little, I believe, because both parties wanted this. I had to listen to both sides, ask each party to compromise and stay focused on their goals. When communication broke down – I facilitated because parties needed space to breathe and exhale then return to the negotiations. This is an example of maturity. It is with great esteem, I commend you both for being an example and I thank you,” de Weever said.

“Communication is the best strategy and the future of SMMC depends on it. I mentioned this at SMMCs anniversary celebration and would like to re-emphasize it. Keep the gates of communication open – it will lead you to success,” he added.

De Weever praised the efforts of all the negotiating partners and had words for each.

“To the Government’s negotiators – I say thank you as well. I remember telling Mr. Lopes – if you are going to retire, go out on the top with this one completed. Needless to say he delivered. Mr. Holiday our rookie in this field got his feet nice and wet. And Mr. Boasman, thank you for your support and your negotiation skills. This is what team spirit is all about,” he said.

“Each board member of WIHCUA has their strengths and style. You are a team that needs to be kept together, like an all star team. Despite your differences- you are one. Don’t allow anyone or any organization to get in between. To the SMMC’s negotiating team, representing the supervisory council and management, you too consist of differences and experiences. Keep up the united front in order to work in SMMC best interest in a responsible financial manner,” the minister added.

More generally he said, “On behalf of the people of St. Maarten, I say thank you. We are grateful for the work that you do at SMMC and we know that together you, WIHCUA and SMMC will ensure a fair and safe working environment. Congratulations SMMC on your 2011 CLA.”

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