Union decries 3 year delay for teacher resolutions

POSTED: 07/11/13 12:21 PM

St. Maarten -Three years into Country St. Maarten teachers are still without the official decrees which confirm that all permanent workers  of the former Netherlands Antilles are now civil servants under the new government of St. Maarten. The Windward Islands Teachers Union (Witu) registered its concerns over this matter with the new Education Minister Patricia Lourens on Monday.

Union president Claire Elshot says that when the new school year opens in August, if the teachers are not given their resolutions, they will not work but head directly to the Governor’s Office.

“Since we are three years into Country St. Maarten, I have already said that definitely I am not going to accept an excuse. On the first day of school if they are not in the teachers hands then we would be at the Governor’s cabinet looking to see the root of where these resolutions are. Probably that will give us a chance to swear in, one time, while we are there. But the fact of the matter remains; we should not start the new school year without these resolutions in our hand and continue to bubble along.”

The union leader said that the absence of resolutions for permanent teachers has had serious consequences for imminent pensioners.

“Not having resolutions is also having serious consequences for persons that already reach pension age, 60, and are ready to go on pension. When you are at the pension age, you need to have a resolution giving you honorary discharge. Now the whole question becomes, how can a person get an honorary discharge when you did not have an employment resolution in place? It is causing a delay in persons’ processing their pension. We have a number of situations that we know about now where persons are waiting on that honorary discharge. Their salaries have stopped and there is no pension in place …due to this administrative backlog.”

Elshot said that Minister Lourens promised to work diligently on resolving this issue by starting with emergency cases first and then ensuring that every permanent teacher gets a resolution. The union said that based on the firm commitment issued by the minister, it will be monitoring the situation.

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