Thompson: “I cannot predict outcome of the Simpson Bay Resort saga”

POSTED: 05/11/12 12:53 PM

St. Maarten – “I will not attempt to predict the outcome of the Simpson Bay Resort saga since the management continues to defy the verdict of the court,” President of the Windward Islands federation of Labor (Wifol) Theophilus Thompson said yesterday. He alluded to the fact that last Thursday was supposed to be the day that the workers had to be paid, but he was not assured if they would have been paid or not.

“Indications coming from management say that the workers will not be paid although this cannot be confirmed,” said Thompson. “According to the Collective Labor Agreement the workers should be paid between noon and 3.00 p.m. on Thursday “If that time frame has passed then the Wifol and its attorneys will have to sit down and decide what will be our next course of action.”

Although the union has some plans in place the union leader preferred not to go into the details. He noted that there is a court verdict that carries penalties for non-compliance and that is “still running.” If no payment was done on Thursday the Wifol will discuss it with the members and the attorneys to ensure that the workers’ rights are respected and the verdict is adhered to.

The union understood that an appeal against the verdict was filed; the court hearing is scheduled for June 27. In the meantime the resort management should comply with the April 2 verdict. Thompson said that the Simpson Bay Resort management has tried to “place the verdict on hold” but this was denied by the court.

He explained that the penalties could reach as much as one million dollars. “If the resort does not pay it means that they blatantly refuse to comply with the courts’ verdict,” Thompson said. He stressed that if this is done it means that they have no regard for the laws of the land, no regard for the legal system, no regard for the court decision, and they have no regard for the rights of the workers.

Thompson: “I do not know how to refer to them since in all of my years as a workers’ executive I have not seen a company so defiant, especially where it pertains to the respecting to the laws of the land. He says that he does not understand why the government has not been more forceful especially in terms of the license the resort was issued. The Wifol-leader questions under which conditions that license was given. The resort is now negotiating with a potential buyer, the Seminole Tribe of Florida that recently had an audience with the Council of Ministers.

Thompson said he is aware that there is a change in government administration and he realizes that the process has already started. “I am also concerned about the functioning of the Labor Office. Had we been operating under the government of the former Netherlands Antilles, this matter would not have gone so far.”

Thompson said that the Wifol has had more serious matters to deal with that were solved at the Labor Office before they were taken to the courts. The government mediator at that time was “more on top of things” and he never waited until something to escalate before he intervened. He explained that the mediator does not have to wait until that they are called before he acts. “As long as he sees that there is potential for industrial actions or unrest within the community then he intervenes before.”

Thompson believes that the Simpson Bay Resort is viable and not bankrupt as some sources claim.

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