WIFOL contemplates industrial action against Little Switzerland

POSTED: 09/10/14 7:40 AM

St. Maarten—Industrial action against Little Switzerland is currently being contemplated by the Windward Islands Federation Of Labor (WIFOL) over what the union views as stalling tactics in negotiating the terms of a Collective Labor Agreement (CLA).

A referendum among the employees gave WIFOL the rights to act as the workers representative and a (CLA) was submitted to the company in the hopes of commencing negotiations WIFOL president Theophilus Thompson explained. “The CLA was drafted after consultation with the workers and to date the company has cancelled the meetings that were organized with the purpose of negotiating on more than three occasions. It is the right of the workers to be organized and to have a union to represent their interest and it’s their right to collective bargaining. These are fundamental human rights of workers all over,” Thompson stressed.

He noted that the reason given for the cancellations of the meetings has been that the higher level management located off island must be the one to agree to the terms of the CLA and that these person(s) have not been available to attend the negotiations.

“Whenever you have a foreign company operating a business the excuse tends to be that the people who are authorized to negotiate with the union must come from abroad. We don’t accept that. We deal with the local market for workers on the island. These companies only care about maximizing their profits and don’t care about the well-being of the workers. We are aware that there was at least one of the higher level managers from Little Switzerland on the island who could have met with us for the meeting but they chose to cancel. These are merely stalling tactics and the union plans to exercise its rights on behalf of the employees to take industrial action to rectify the situation,” Thompson said.

The union plans to call its members of Little Switzerland in to a meeting within a few days to provide them with a detailed explanation as to why the union feels it’s been given no choice but to take industrial action to protect their rights. He added that it is the civic responsibility of the union to make its intention known in such cases and it’s the intention of the union to follow the letter of the law.

According to Thompson WIFOL is committed to the development of its employees and takes its position as their representative very seriously. “We take no pleasure in disrupting any business but we will never stand by and see our members be disrespected or denied their fundamental rights and as such we will always take whatever action we deem necessary to look after the interests of these workers.”




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