Wiclu wants MPs to discuss counterpart agreement

POSTED: 06/26/13 12:11 PM

St. Maarten -Now that the dust has settled on the political upheaval on St. Maarten, trade unions want Parliament to take its responsibility seriously to introduce, enact and amend some legislation in consultation with unions. Windward Islands Chamber of Labor Unions (Wiclu) President Theophilus Thompson yesterday said that trade unionists are still awaiting the opportunity to address Parliament on matters such as the counterpart labor regulations.

“We have never received an invitation as a union while other groups of special interest to particular politicians or Parliamentarians were invited to share their thoughts on how things should be done. Now that we some stability in the political arena, let’s hope that for the next few months our Parliamentarians will take their responsibility seriously and not plan another coup,” he said.

Unions are expecting to have an early invitation to express their opinions on the running of the country.

“I remember some time ago before the new country status, a new labor policy should have been put in place. If that was put in place then we would have had the counterpart section of that policy where a professional who is brought in to fill a vacant position, will have a counterpart who will be trained to take on the responsibility, so that when he or she leaves ….then you will have continuity, stability and profitability.”

Thompson cited the union’s activities locally and internationally where the counterpart issue was also discussed.

“We are going on international forums and expressing the workers’ rights and needs not only here but regionally and the counterpart issue is one of those things that I would like to see implemented so that we can have persons with knowledge and skills that we lack, that they can share so that we can further develop and educate our own talented resource personnel.”

Youth unemployment should also be placed on government’s agenda, first vice president of the Wiclu, Claire Elshot added.

She said that this is a concern of the International Labor Organization which needs to be addressed by St. Maarten for young people who are graduating from high schools to find employment.

“If it is not dealt with a real structural way, we can have very negative consequences forthcoming from the fact that these young people cannot find employment,” Elshot said.


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