Resort refuses employees copies of labor contracts

POSTED: 02/3/12 2:51 PM

St. Maarten – Wifol-president Theophilus Thompson sharply criticized the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina yesterday for the way it handles employment contracts for the workers it recently rehired. According to Thompson, the employees did not get a copy of their new contract and they did not get an opportunity to read it.
“Three days ago the main carpenter who had been working for eighteen years for the former Pelican Resort told me that the company refused to give him a copy of the contract,” Thompson said.

“This man has worked there for years unsupervised without ever being reprimanded. The contract was read to him. When he asked if he could read it himself it was refused.”

Thompson said that the contract contained a 2-month trial period.

“He was shocked. This is a complete violation of his rights.”

Thompson complained about the way the carpenter was treated in a letter to the labor department with a copy to the resort.

“We did not get a response from the resort,” Thompson said.

The request to dismiss 182 employees at the former Pelican Resort is still pending. Of the 49 who were already dismissed, two have in the meantime passed away. But the dismissal request was not done correctly, or so it appears from a letter the labor affairs department sent to Wifol.

Department head Peggy-Ann Dross informed Thompson that she received a letter from the Tenants Association Pelican Resort Club’s chairman Arthur d’Italia that expresses the intention to re-instate the dismissal request for 182 employees.

The labor office will not take action on this request, because d’Italia’s letter “in and of itself does not serve as sufficient basis for processing the dismissal request.”

The tenants association now has to file a new petition using the relevant form. On it, Pelican Resort the management company has to be mentioned as the employer and the petition must be filed by its statutory director, Jules James.

Thompson said that the Wifol had a meeting with the labor department on Wednesday where also the resort’s refusal to give employees a copy of their contract was discussed.

“We have a commitment from the labor department about taking decisive action to request information from the company,” Thompson said.

The union-leader said that about thirty former employees of the Pelican resort had refused to sign a new contract with the Simpson Bay Resort because they were not allowed to see their contract or to obtain a copy of it. He said that 66 others signed a contract under duress.

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