Thompson: “Let’s end this war” Simpson Bay Resort looks to appeal third Wifol victory

POSTED: 04/3/12 1:02 PM

St. Maarten – The attorney for Simpson Bay Resort Management Company (SBRMC) JAiro Bloem has announced that he will seek a stay of execution of Monday’s ruling by Judge Mr. Rene van Veen that Simpson Bay Resort Management Company must respect the terms of the Collective Labor Agreement (CLA) for the line personnel and supervisors of Pelican Resort Club, the Collective Labor Agreement for Middle Management and Administrative Personnel of Pelican Resort Club and the underlying contracts with the employees of the former Pelican Resort Club. The ruling is based on arguments made during a trial on merits initiated by the attorneys for the Workers Institute for Organized Labor (Wifol) Maarten le Poole and Wim van Sambeek.

“Simpson Bay Resort Management Company is disappointed with this ruling and we are looking at both the merits of the ruling and appeal possibilities. We also want to inform the timeshare members and we plan to analyze the merits of the verdict,” Bloem said.

The very fact that Bloem and his client are considering an appeal does not sit well with one of Wifol’s attorneys.

“I think it’s very regrettable if Simpson Bay Resort Management Company would not accept the legal reality that it is the employer of the members of Wifol per the auction date. An appeal procedure will only confirm what has been decided in court today. It would be more productive to put all energy into a smooth return of the members (of Wifol) to the workplace, instead of failing to accept that St. Maarten is a decent country with decent labor laws in place,” van Sambeek said.

Wifol’s President Theophilus Thompson shares that same view and earlier in day he said, “Let’s end this war. We won’t put down arms, but we call on management in the name of the economy, in the name of peace, in the name of the image abroad, let us end this. It’s 3 – 2 now. We must immediately go into discussion.”

The union leader said will make the first overture to the management. One of his point of departure will be that the union never wanted to the fight with management to go this far.

“I really regret that we had to reach such a conclusion. I hope they (SBRMC) will not prolong this situation. This does not serve the best interest of anyone. Based on this ruling I cannot tell anyone to go back to work. The employer still has the right to keep the workers away from the property, but they do have to pay them all the way back to November. We are awaiting to see the employer’s reply. I also hope that government, who has been in a neutral position, will exhort themselves to take responsibility and urge management to talk to the union and bring peace,” the Wifol president said.

Ruling

Next to ordering that the resort management respect the collective labor agreements the court’s ruling also requires that Simpson Bay Resort pays the employees’ wages based on the collective labor agreements until the moment that they are not valid. The resort will have to pay $5, 000 for every day or part thereof that it does not live up to the ruling. This will continue to a maximum of $1, 000, 000. The court has also ordered the resort to pay $50, 000 plus legal interest from

December 17 because Bloem did not protest a claim for attempting to damage Wifol’s reputation by offering the union’s members contracts.

Simpson Bay Resort has also been ordered to pay for the cost of the proceedings that have been incurred by Wifol, 100 guilders ($55) in court fees, any bailiff fees and 1, 800 guilders ($1, 000) for attorney fees.

The ruling became enforceable at the moment it was delivered and the judge has also dismissed any further or other claims.

Thompson is happy with the ruling and views as a restoration of the worker’s rights.

“I think this decision has fare reaching effects past the borders of Simpson Bay Resort. It shows that a collective labor agreement is important must be respected,” he said.

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