Philipsburg:--- The former Pelican workers who are out of work over a year now got another victory in the Court of First Instance on Monday when the court ruled once again in their favor. A number of the workers who have been fighting the battle through their union Workers Institute for Organized Labour (WIFOL) with the owners of Simpson Bay Resort Management Company emerged from the Court of Instance screaming for joy. Several of them were seen hugging the lawyers from HBN law firm Maarten Le Poole and Wim van Sambeek as they thanked them for their hard work and perseverance.
Attorney at Law Maarten Le Poole said that they presented a case on the merits which allowed the WIFOL and its members to present all the facts regarding the case. Le Poole said that the judge ordered SBRMC to honor the Collective Labour Agreement that was in place prior to the auction. The workers are entitled to their salaries, vacation pay, and all other benefits. The judge also ordered the workers to go back to work since the new owners of Pelican Resort; SBRMC could not fire them based on the CLA that was in place.
Monday's ruling was the third time workers of Pelican got a victory in the lower court, two of which was overturned by the Appeals Court based on what the lawyers of HBN law describes as a legal blunder. Attorney at law Wim Van Sambeek told SMN News that the first two cases were summary proceedings where they asked the judge to make an order but the last case he said is completely different.
Attorney at law Maarten Le Poole also urged the workers to hold their emotions for a while. "I know you all have been going through a lot but while you have a stronger victory this case might be far from over. Based on the history of this case, we cannot rule out an appeal. I would like for the SBRMC to stop the legal fight and honor the CLA but that is something we would have to wait and see."
President of the WIFOL Theophillius Thompson said he is overjoyed at the victory on Monday and he is calling on the company to stop the legal fight. "It's time for the company and the union to show some maturity and get around the table. I am informing them now that I am willing to talk and I would like to negotiate a new Collective Labour Agreement for my members." Thompson said the victory on Monday can be considered a victory for all workers on St. Maarten.