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St. Maarten union board backs decision to agree to 50 percent Cost-of-living-adjusment


PHILIPSBURG–The board of Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) has backed its president’s deci- sion to agree on behalf of WITU members to accept the fifty per ent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) payment that has been included in the 2013 budget.

WITU President Claire Elshot told reporters on Tuesday that she had met with the board last week Fri- day to update members on what had transpired since the last general members’ meeting and on her decision to agree to accept the 50 per cent payment. She had announced the decision at a press conference last week.  Elshot informed the board members of all the correspondence and meetings that had taken place during that period. Elshot said the entire board had expressed its support for her decision, including the Vice President Corrine Lejuez, who had been off-island and had expressed her support via e- mail.

The board members said they were now in a position to inform members who approach them about the matter.  Elshot said the union had taken note of the announcement that the payment would be made on November 15. However, she said the union still was trying to ascertain why the payment was not being indexed to workers’ salaries and instead was being paid in a lump sum. However, she said several teachers already had indicated that they did not have a problem with the lump sum payment.

Elshot said the union would “continue to struggle” for government to include the remaining 50 per cent of the 4.6 per cent COLA to be included in the 2014 budget. “We will continue to police it,” she told reporters at the Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Union (WICLU) weekly press conference yesterday.  Elshot said she could not speak for other unions on this matter and other unions were free to take a different position from WITU. She said all unions had been involved in the same meetings where it was made clear why it was not possible for government to pay the additional 50 per cent.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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