Wifol gives Gebe one week to sign new CLA

POSTED: 07/13/12 11:56 AM

St. Maarten – Although the representatives of the Workers Institute for Organized Labor (Wifol) had been in negotiations utility provider Gebe for over two years, no Collectivite Labor Agreement (CLA) has been signed. The union’s president Theophilus Thompson has now accused the company’s supervisory board of delaying by continuously changing the dates of signing the CLA and given them until next Thursday to sign or face industrial action.

“Upon our investigation we have realized that the chairman of the Board of Directors Julius Lambert is really not in favor in having the CLA signed in the company. We have sent about three letters inviting the Advisory Board to a meeting and they have not replied. They have refused to meet with the union on matters of general interest and as a result they have concluded that Julius Lambert who was the former Managing Director of the Island utility company GEBE have not left “the decision making authority” since he resigned from GEBE as managing director. Lambert has now moved into a more authoritative position where the management team cannot make any decisions without the approval of the advisory board of which Lambert has the final say,” Thompson said.

The Wifol president explained that the union is not there to negotiate and leave CLA’s unsigned. Gebe workers had a CLA which was signed about eight years ago by the NABLP. No other CLA has been signed but several memos or protocols have been issued.

“No memo or protocol could take the place of a Collective Labor Agreement. We plan to step up the pressure to ensure that the CLA is signed. Gebe is on a collision course with industrial actions. It is two years now that we have been in serious negotiations with Gebe,” Thompson said.

The last date that was established for the signing the CLA was about three weeks ago. The Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Operations Officer said while there is a consensus to sign off on the new CLA they need to review it again. The workers who were under the UFA are now with the Wifol and they are planning to present a CLA to the management team. The reason for wanting the other CLA signed is because there is “one representation” and although there are two category of workers if the advisory board is refusing to sign one CLA then the union fears that “there will be definitely be problems with the other negotiations.” One of the CLAs is already before the mediator (Derrick Holiday edi., -) in attempts to get him to intervene.

“If this CLA is not signed then the rights and the benefits of the workers are left up to the management of the company,” Thompson said.


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