Published On: Thu, Jul 16th, 2020

Employer Council unites four associations

Employer council unites four associations

PHILIPSBURG – After the Windward Islands Chamber of Labor Unions (Wiclu) as the umbrella organization for employees, St. Maarten now also has a similar organization to represent the interests of employers: the Employer Council St. Maarten.

Participating in this council that was legally established on July 10 are the Marine Trades Association (SMMTA), the Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), the Indian Merchants Association (IMA) and the Timeshare Association (SMTA). Currently missing in this line-up is the Chinese Merchants Association but that could change anytime since the council has declared itself open to membership for professional business associations as long as they meet the ILO (International Labor Organization) requirements and adhere to (unspecified) principles.

According to a press release the four now united associations have cooperated for over a decade with the International Labor Organization in representing employer-related interests.

The new council wants to be “a collective focal point for employer-representation on all tripartite matters through representation of the private sector in advisory bodies.”

Interesting. In June, a press release from the prime minister’s office announced a restructuring of the Social Economic Council (Sociaal Economische Raad or SER). The reason? An evaluation showed “that the current makeup of the employer-representatives on the board is not in line with the principles of the SER.”

In April the Chamber of Commerce obtained a rather surprising mandate “to facilitate the creation of an employer-organization” the press release from the prime minister stated. The idea was to create an umbrella organization that is open to membership for “various employer-organizations.”

The employers have now anticipated this move by taking matters into their own hands. No doubt their council will demand and expect sturdy representation in the revamped SER.

The objective of the Employer Council is “to provide sound, holistic advice on issues pertaining to the employment and the labor market as well as matters of socio-economic importance in general.”

The council’s press release furthermore states that “structural tripartite dialogue is critical if our country is to grow its way out of the current economic crisis.”

The council “strengthens the voice of the private sector employers through unification in this umbrella organization, consistent with the need recently identified by the prime minister.”


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