WITU not interested in new structure to pay out COLA on St. Maarten

FRIDAY, 15 JUNE 2012

PHILIPSBURG--President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Claire Elshot, on Thursday said the union is not interested in having a discussion about finding a different way to pay out the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), although the CFT and Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams in the past spoke about alternate ways.

Elshot said a new salary scale structure was recently negotiated and implemented and she sees little sense in revisiting the issue – unless the whole structure is put on review, not just a part that addresses teachers.

As such, she said, the union advises that the salary structure ordinance in which the COLA is outlined be strictly followed. She said this ordinance is equal, more or less, to a collective bargaining agreement in the private sector.
She also added that the CFT is probably not aware of the details and the position from which negotiations were started, to arrive at the new ordinance. She urged the CFT to do its homework on the discussions that took place leading to a new salary structure.

Additionally, Elshot said the union and the teachers are still expecting the COLA for 2010 to be paid out this month, as promised by former Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto. She said she has not received any information to the contrary, except for some rumours about July, so the expectation is, it will be paid.

As soon as the 2010 COLA is paid, Elshot said, the union will be looking to get the process started to pay out the 2011 COLA. Elshot also confirmed that the vacation allowance for public school teachers was paid on Wednesday. She said she was uncertain if the private school boards had received payment for their teachers.