until dismissal request finalized;
Labour Department instructed to review legislation
GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (GIS) – Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, has been diligently working on the Pelican resort issue with respect to keeping abreast of what has been transpiring, but also having government departments and entities carry out their responsibilities.
The mediator(s) Derrick Holiday and Kenneth Lopes have handed in their assignment, which the Prime Minister considers that parties reached a deadlock.
"It was at this stage that I announced my intention to appoint an extra-ordinary mediator to again attempt to bring parties to an agreement. The day this announcement was made, it was also announced the evening before, parties had reached an agreement. Where that agreement stands at this time, is known to all," Honorable Prime Minister Wescot-Williams pointed out.
Royal Resort Management on behalf of Pelican Resort Management Company has submitted a request for mass dismissal.
"Let it be stated emphatically that until a ruling is given on the dismissal request, the employees are employed and entitled to pay – (a "lock-out" notwithstanding). The dismissal request also needs to go according to procedures established by law and involves the scrutinizing of the company’s financial position to determine the justification of the request.
"And while on the topic of procedures, I need to also state that it is every politician’s right to appear where ever they please and of course, where emotions run high as is the case with the Pelican workers, there is always fertile ground for political posturing.
"In my case, more was achieved by making sure I was constantly briefed as to developments and that Labor Affairs from the Secretary General down was on the ball and they know that this entire matter is one grave concern for this Government.
"We involved mediation when it was necessary; we allowed collective bargaining when that was taking place, which is the preferred way to go. And we were prepared to again mediate (via a mediator especially chosen for this case).
"An important aspect that has bearing on this case is the so-called "pass-over of business" or take-over of business," to make the term clearer.
"Our laws do not sufficiently go into this aspect, especially as far as employees are concerned. It is because of this fact that there are so many unclear issues surrounding who is responsible for the workers of Pelican Resort and as per when.
"A clear verdict on this is also important in connection with the dismissal request now before the relevant government department in connection with entitlements of the workers of Pelican Resort," Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams explained with respect to the delicate situation regarding Pelican.
Prime Minister Wescot announced several weeks ago that with the labor legislation now completely in the hands of the Government of country Sint Maarten what needs to be amended, adapted and modernized to comply with international labor legislation trends can now be done.
"This process that started back in 2006 with the social partners needs to continue. I have instructed the Labor Affairs Department however with urgency to review the legislation and propose new legislation to deal with the matter of "take-over of business", thereby making it clear where the responsibilities lie for especially the workers, when businesses are taken over, be it through sale or any other means.
"This is the discussion the Parliament of Sint Maarten should be having, rather than individual members of Parliament giving workers false comfort and berating government in the process," Hon. Prime Minister Wescot-Williams told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Monday.