SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday, June 25th, 2021, the Court in First Instance prohibited the ABVO and NAPB unions to organize meetings, work interruptions, and public manifestations, as long as these harm the proper functioning of Government, for a period of one week, according to a press statement from the cabinet of the Minister of Justice. A full judgment will follow on Friday July 2nd, 2021.
Prior to granting Country Sint Maarten’s main claim, the Court expressed its severe displeasure with the situation and stated that parties should sit together and solve the current dispute amicably. The Court reminded the unions about the rules established by the Supreme Court regarding industrial actions by unions. The Court also expressed its confidence in the law enforcement officials not doing anything that tampers with the proper function of Government.
During the hearing, the president of the NAPB expressed that their main issues are firstly to continue the dialogue, secondly the situation surrounding the function books, thirdly updates, and fourthly the vacation allowances.
During the hearing, representatives of Country Sint Maarten expressed that the injunction was an action of last resort, after five days of strikes and threats to the public order and safety and the explicit threats to the tourism industry.
The Ministry of Justice is happy that its main claim was awarded till the final decision, which will come next week Friday. Also that the ABVO and NAPB have to sit with the Ministry to make their demands known and have a dialogue about all issues of concern. The Ministry would like to point out that in the meetings of June 22nd and June 24th the progress of the function books were discussed and explained already to the unions. Tomorrow, Saturday, June 26th, 2021 a pre-arranged working session will take place at Government building with the unions to go over the Function Books. Therefore, the Ministry is looking forward to hear the other concerns the Unions may have.
ARCHIVED (Thursday, June 24, 2021) - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - In order to ensure the safety and security of the people and visitors of Sint Maarten, on Tuesday June 24, 2021, Government filed an injunction with the Court in First Instance against the police unions NAPB and ABVO, and against the president of the NAPB, as the public leader of the current police protests.
The objective is to prohibit the unions from continuing their industrial actions and to have all law enforcement officers return to their regular scheduled working hours.
Through their actions the unions are harming the economic recovery of the country and damaging the country’s image internationally. Companies that have taken concrete steps to invest in Sint Maarten by setting up operations have expressed their serious concerns about the disruptive actions of the very same people that are entrusted to protect and uphold the public order.
Contrary to the rules for industrial action based on the European Social Charter, the unions have failed to give their employer a reasonable deadline to comply with their demands before starting their protests. In fact, the unions started their protests first and submitted their demands after. By taking these actions in the wrong order, the unions demonstrated the randomness of their activities, which gives government even more cause for concern. Government learned from an interview with the president of the NAPB that the unions will finally be getting legal advice today, June 24, 2021. This is long overdue, since the unions have clearly shown an unwillingness to operate according to a set of established rules, and as such are acting unlawfully towards Country Sint Maarten and its people.
While the Government acknowledges that there are many issues that need to be dealt with regarding civil servants of the Ministry of Justice, the unions continuously ignore the steps that the current government has taken to solve the root cause of the Justice-employees’ grievances: the establishment of function books. The Committee of Civil Servants Unions (CCSU) has provided its feedback on the function books, which are now at the Council of Advice for its advice, which is the correct and proper legal process. Government looks forward to the positive outcome of the legal procedure that has been initiated, and the decision to prohibit further industrial actions that harms the country.