WILLEMSTAD, Curacao (Tuesday, May 8, 2012) AMIGOE — The intervention of the National arbitrator was of no avail. Members of Aqualectra union SEU rejected the management’s proposal on Monday morning on performance pay. The associated staff members find the proposal too low and are concerned about the course of the utility company. According to advisor Errol Cova, the wildest rumors are circulating, including a threatening mass dismissal. The middle management personnel assembled at the main office in Mundo Nobo this morning. SEU-chairman Errold Bishop and advisor Cova explained the management’s proposal. Director Darick Jonis is prepared to pay 0.75 percent at the most on the gross salary of 2010 and 1 percent on the gross salary of 2011 as performance pay. The director is not willing to pay more to the members who qualify for the latter. This was made perfectly clear yesterday during the negotiations under supervision of the National arbitrator. However, trade union SEU demands an extra payment of 1.25 percent on the salary of 2010 and 2011 for all employees. According to the union, the personnel are entitled to such – in accordance with the cao (collective labor agreement). This is also the members’ wish, it appeared this morning in the meeting that was held during office hours. After unanimously rejecting the management’s proposal, the personnel went to the SSK-building in Groot Davelaar, where they discussed the current situation at Aqualectra in detail.
According to the technical personnel, the utility company is implementing a run-down scenario. One can imagine they were greatly shocked this morning on reading a newspaper article that the company intends to dismiss 400 employees.
Meanwhile, the two other trade unions in Aqualectra have had contact. The management is also negotiating with these unions and will present them a counterproposal Tuesday afternoon at the latest, said Cova.
Aqualectra had to close three contact centers this morning because the union members hadn’t gone to work. Until further notice, the contact centers of the utility company in Sta. Rosa, Sta. Maria and Barber are not open for customer service. Only the office on Pater Euwensweg in Otrobanda is open today.
Aqualectra and union SEU have a different opinion for some time now regarding the interpretation and settlement of the performance pay. According to Jonis, the management consulted often with the trade union the past months, both in writing and orally. Jonis regrets the arisen situation and still hopes both parties will reach an acceptable solution. The director denies rumors on mass dismissal. Jonis states he’s not aware of employees being forced to resign. “I rather support a more efficient policy. In case of dismissals, then it’s on the basis of gradual retrenchment and not that people are forced to resign.”