Labor union investigates discrimination of permanent residents claim

POSTED: 07/17/13 1:05 PM

St. Maarten – Reports that companies are hesitant to employ people who have a permanent residency status on the island, have aroused concern within workers’ organizations. Yesterday, the Windward Islands Chamber of Labor Unions (Wiclu), via its weekly press briefing, exposed what it called, discrimination and a violation to a person’s right to work.

First vice president of Wiclu Claire Elshot said, “We are very much concerned about reports coming from certain segment of workers that are indicating to us that their bosses are now telling them not to hire or rehire persons with permanent residency; only with Dutch passports. Therefore since this is something that appears to be a different policy or something new, as a union we will be researching it.”
Elshot said a number of labor laws need to be revised but in the meantime, unions will continue to highlight abuses of the current system.
“We feel that employers should know that on a legal basis, a legal resident, permanent resident and Dutch passport holders are all persons who should qualify for work or be rehired. Decent work should also be the standard,” Elshot added.

With the rise of employment agencies on the island, many businesses have resorted to outsourcing, often cheap and seasonal labor. Temporary residents often prove easier for employers to manipulate because they are desperate for work, are willing to accept low wages and do not have the security and independence of a permanent resident.

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