Opinion: Opposed to dismissal

POSTED: 11/7/13 2:03 PM

The OSPP applauds the Permanent Committee of Health, Social Development and Labour for meeting with the soon-to-be-discharged RBC employees to understand more fully their concerns as they face redundancy according to the bank. In the weeks following announcement by RBC that it would dismiss 13 workers on St Maarten, there had been a silence from mainstream politicians regarding this issue. During this time however, the OSPP had maintained opposition to their dismissal, and have sought to stimulate public and official support for the workers bid to have the bank reverse its decision or to adequately compensate the workers after serving the company for so many years.

Prior to the Permanent Committee of Health, Social Development and labour meeting with the RBC workers it seemed evident that our mainstream politicians were pleased to wait and see how this matter plays out; to allow agency tasked with overseeing such matters, to do its work. The OSPP rejects this idea, though making it clear that our opposition has nothing to do with the Labour Department personnel. To the contrary we have lots of confidence in the working of the labour department. We oppose the notion of allowing things to take the usual process because the case is not a usual case. Usually in such cases, the role of the department is to ensure that dismissed employees get what is due unto them, and to ensure that other workers are not brought in to replace them. Most likely the department will follow the rules that are applicable in the case of a request to dismiss the workers. Based on the above criterion, the department will find that the law is being adhered to and exceeded, and that the specific operation formally carried out by these workers will cease to exist after the termination of the 13.

“This is where we think government in the personage of the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Cornelius de Weever ought to step in, says Lenny Priest, President and Interim Leader of the OSPP. The Minister ought to articulate a distinct policy aimed at preventing social upheaval and a strain on our resources as repercussion to large scaled redundancies.

While we are not privy to the motion and strongly worded letter that the MPs have sent to the bank, we feel very strongly that the management of RBC should be called into parliament to have a word with them. Parliament has heard the position of the workers and management should be given the same opportunity. From our vantage point, we fear that the employees are being coerced into accepting the latest bank’s offer. Moreover, in the present economic reality, it may be that many will not find employment, and become a burden to our social services. Except if the workers stand together in refusing the payout, the other workers who are not being laid off as yet rally in support of their co-workers and the Labour Department lessens the possibility for dismissals of this nature, RBC will have its way. And this will only be the beginning for much more to follow thereafter within RBC and other large corporations here in St. Maarten.

One St. Maarten People’s Party

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