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St. Maarten unions to meet with workers on Cost of Living Adjustment

SATURDAY, 17 AUGUST 2013

PHILIPSBURG–The unions representing civil servants, teachers and police personnel will meet with their membership next week to determine a way forward as it relates to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) payment from government.

Unions have been lobbying for the 2012 payment for their membership for some time now and have jointly called for the payment to be indexed to workers’ salaries and not paid in a lump sum. However, government has maintained that COLA cannot continue to be paid in its current format and a new and sustainable system needs to be used. Government has also allocated some 50 per cent of the COLA payment in the budget for workers, but the unions said this decision was unilateral.

The unions met among themselves on Friday to discuss the matter. Present at the meeting were representatives of the Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU); Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU), and the NAPB St. Maarten union.

WICSU/PSU President Dearie Leonard told The Daily Herald on Friday that the unions decided to hold separate general membership meetings with their members to determine a way forward. The meetings will be held after work hours. The unions will regroup on Thursday next week to determine collectively based on their membership what definite steps will be taken on this matter.

Leonard said to date the unions have not received an official answer from government on the COLA matter.

Finance Minister Martin Hassink had said last Wednesday that he will be pursuing measures started by his predecessor to get a consultancy firm in The Netherlands to visit the island and make a proposal on the matter.

Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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