The Caribbean Netherlands Sector Consultation, a meeting that takes place three times a year between the Dutch Government as employer and the labor unions representing the National Government Department RCN employees, was held on Saba on Monday, July 1.
Representatives of RCN, the Ministry of Justice and Security (J&V), the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and four labor unions, namely ABVO, WICSU ACOM and NAPB gathered at Queen’s Gardens Resort to discuss a number of labor conditions related matters.
Discussed were, among other things, a new regulation where employees can buy and sell days off turning these days off into money or by buying extra vacation days, the possibility of introducing a labor market allowance for hard-to-fill vacancies, and the formalizing of the so-called participation councils, a system of work floor representation. The proclamation of Dia di Rincon as an official holiday on Bonaire was briefly discussed.
Also discussed were the Windward Islands allowance and the intention to come up with a long-term sustainable system. It was decided during Monday’s Sector Consultation that the so-called life phase leave (“levensfase verlof”) will be implemented. This regulation allows employees to save for leave in a certain period of their lives, for example a sabbatical or early pension.
RCN personnel, 885 persons in total, works on all three Caribbean Netherlands islands and this time it was Saba that hosted the meeting. Island Secretary Tim Muller was present at the one-day meeting as an observer.
Jan Helmond, the mandated representative of the employer, the National Government, was very positive about the Saba meeting as well as previous meetings. “Over the years, we have made great strides together in the negotiations and the meetings with the labor unions,” he said.