No retreat, no surrender Thompson says (Simpson Bay Resort)

POSTED: 09/9/12 11:54 PM

St. Maarten – 7 Sept. 2012 – “This battle might have been lost but the war continues; we know that we are right in our conviction to defend workers’ rights,” president of the Windward Island Chamber of Labour Unions Theophilus Thompson said yesterday.
Thompson was obviously riled by the Common Court of Justice decision to rule in favor of the appeal filed by the Simpson Bay Resort Management Company last Friday but reached out to his membership by saying “I want to make emphatically clear that this a war that we are in; it is a struggle with its challenges towards defending workers’ rights.”
Many of the 82 workers who are currently unemployed may have already lost faith in the union since this Simpson Bay saga has been a struggle between the resort and the union for almost two years now, with no end in sight.
On Friday, the court handed down the ruling voiding an April 2-ruling that would have obliged the resort’s new owners to rehire all Pelican staff, pay them based on their collective labor agreement and to pay the Wifol-union $50,000 compensation.
Our resolve will not be slowed or hindered, Thompson stated, adding that the union will go to a higher court.
Thompson justified the union’s decision to pursue further litigation by stating that the International Labour Organization standards and treaties supports its position because of violations of collective labour agreements and unauthorized industrial actions.
“We cannot just take this decision by the Appeal Court, it was like during the time of the slavery era where workers had to fight” to champion the cause of emancipation, he urged.
He pointed to the union protesting the appointment of several judges in 2011 and the appointment of trustees in the bankruptcy protection case, who were perceived to represent the interest of the resort.
Three weeks ago, Thompson said that he had no reservations about the trustees.
But yesterday changed his tune saying that “after meeting with the trustees we shared a half and half consideration, we have a different view on how those proceedings also went.”
The Appeal Court decision would now result in the trustees’ functions ending.
The union leader believes that the court’s decision may now set the wrong example for other businesses.
“As it is now companies will feel as though they can close their doors, ignore the workers’ rights, throw them on the streets and the same people start a new company and move on without any financial or other obligations,” Thompson said.
The union leader said that his organization is fighting on many fronts but would continue to ensure that workers’ rights are protected.

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