Published On: Fri, Jan 8th, 2021

Union reps picket at Knops’ press conference

PHILIPSBURG — Union representatives picketed in front of the Maho Resort where State Secretary Drs. Raymond Knops gave a press conference at the end of his visit to the island. They did not get an audience with Knops, who said during the press conference that he had not received any request for such an encounter.

That did not stop the unionists, supported by Drs. Raymond Jessurun and others, to speak their mind to reporters. Nataly Frans, treasurer of the St. Maarten Communications Union (SMCU) was the most vocal.

“They are cutting us and making us bleed and there is no plaster to stop the bleeding,” she shouted. “But we are the Caribbean, we are St. Maarten. We need to eat and we need to live. We are not accepting any cuts.”

Frans said that there will have to be discussions with the unions, the government and employer organizations. “We are not going back to slavery. It was abolished. But we have had enough. That is the message we want to send to him.”

Theophilus Thompson (Windward Islands Federation of Labor Unions – WIFOL) said that they (a reference to the Dutch) “have no respect for workers rights and human rights. Knops comes to St. Maarten and he does not respect the rights of the territory. That is embarrassing.”

Thompson echoed Nataly Frans’ opposition to salary cuts. “We do not believe in any cuts. Holland has its responsibility.”

Related news: Knops: “There will be no Dutch take-over”

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