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Sunday, 3 February 2013 09:37

WILLEMSTAD — Union SGTK, which promotes the interests of the personnel of contractors on the Isla premises, ended the strike and incited its members to reassume their work.SGTK assumes that in two to three days the board of directors of the head office of parent company of the Isla refinery in Venezuela will give the green light so companies affiliated with contractors’ association AAV can pay the SGTK-members the bonus of 1600 guilders.

 

According to chairman of SGTK, Alcides Cova, his members were not allowed access to the Isla premises to resume their work. However, Isla-spokesperson Kenneth Gijsbertha contradicts this proposition. “The SGTK-members were on strike. At a certain moment the SGTK informed us their members wanted to resume their work. When we asked if this was the end of the strike they said no. We don’t allow strikes on the Isla premises and therefore denied them access.”

Gijsbertha also pointed out that the Isla-entrance of Post V was closed during the strike of the SGTK-members yesterday morning, but the SGTK was aware that the entrance of Post 7 was open. “Everyone who wanted to go back to work could have entered the premises through Post 7, but they didn’t.” According to Gijsbertha, SGTK is to officially announce that the strike is over before being allowed access to the Isla premises. The spokesman for the Isla assumed this announcement would be made yesterday afternoon.

SGTK-chairman Cova emphasized that members were asked to resume work after being told that a promise would be kept within several days. The ‘challenged’ bonus ensues from agreements between the union and contractors’ association AAV in May 2012. The AAV now states it cannot pay the bonus and that the Isla promised to defray the costs involved with this bonus. However, according to Gijsbertha, the Isla ‘promised’ to recognize the cao (collective labor agreement) between the AAV and SGTK.

The bonus regards the period from September 2011 (when the cao expired) to May 2012 when the parties agreed on a new cao and in first instance only applies for personnel from contractors’ companies falling under the wage limit of the Social Insurance Bank and having worked at least six months of the last twelve on the Isla premises. A list was made and forwarded to the SVB for verification. According to Gijsbertha, approximately 600 workers fall under this regulation but he criticized that many on the list don’t qualify for the bonus. “A strange situation”, said Gijsbertha, who pointed out that this requires the approval of Venezuela, which will take some time.

Union-chairman Cova said the members are very frustrated about the latest developments. “They’ve been waiting since May 2012. Agreements are not kept. Nobody considers their interests, not the government, the Isla or the contractors. We await the outcome but expect clarity on the payments in the short term. Through our lawyer, we informed the Isla in writing that we hold them responsible for lost income for the hours our members wanted to resume work but were denied access.”