St. Maarten Airport workers sack Abvo

POSTED: 01/3/13 3:57 PM

St. Maarten -Less than a year after employees of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) signed a collective labor agreement to guarantee their rights with union representation under the Abvo union, there appears to be trouble in paradise.

Today was reliably informed that there has been a fallout between the employees who work in the administrative, security, janitorial, technical and fire departments of the airport and Abvo.  Numbering more than 100, the employees have sacked Abvo for failing to represent their interests and now want the Windward Islands Civil Servants Union (Wicsu), which represents air traffic controllers and two cleaners only, to represent them.

The employees reportedly took the decision last week citing several instances of neglect. They also believe that the collective labor agreement which was signed in May last year only protects air traffic controllers but has several flaws when it comes to other employees. They said that the agreement should have been structured to fit individual job descriptions.

“If we have a problem, instead of our union representing us, the union always sides with the airport’s management. We are not happy with our representation; Abvo is making decisions for us instead of consulting with us. Before we had Abvo all the way in Curacao and whenever we called the man never came. Now we have a local chapter and they seem not be competently familiar with the labor laws,” one employee stated.

When contacted, Wicsu president, Derie Leonard said that she was recently made aware of a situation on the airport but the grievances of the employees were not completely clear to her. She said that she had even received congratulatory messages yesterday on Wicsu being the umbrella union for all airport workers, but stated that she had never had any discussions with the Abvo unionized workers there.

Leonard indicated that she would be willing to meet with the employees, however, should they request it.

Up to press time Abvo St.Maarten president Keturah Brown could not be reached for a comment.


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