Thompson calls for labor reform

POSTED: 10/15/12 3:44 PM

St. Maarten – There is a need for comprehensive labor reform,  president of the Windward Islands Federation of Labor (WIfol) Theophilus Thompson said last week. Employees who came over from the former Federal Government of the Netherlands Antilles to the government of St. Maarten “to this date are still struggling to know what their legal status in terms of their labor contract is.”

This should have been fixed and workers should not be constantly seeking legal advice to establish their legal status. If government is not leading by example then what is expected of the private sector, Thompson said.  “There employers are moving away from direct employees towards hiring staff via employment agencies. That is wrong,” Thompson said.

The union leader maintained that employment agencies are violating the fundamental rights of workers. This results in insecurities since because these employees are not able to get bank loans because they are not on a permanent contract.  “

With this labor reform, job security and employment must be the priority, Thompson said. “In a new nation it should not be so that a person at a certain age is unable to find employment. A re-training program should be put in place

Wifol is prepossessing a hike in the amount that employers contribute to the cessantia fund – currently forty guilders per employee per year.

Thompson hopes that his proposal will create some discussion in the community and in the tripartite setting. He stated that if there are no changes and reform then “businesses will evaporate, employment will become a crisis, which could only lead to a chaotic situation.”

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