PHILIPSBURG:--- The Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) and the various school boards of St. Maarten submitted their letter to the Minister of Education drs. Rudolph Samuel on Monday afternoon concerning paying the vacation allowance for subsidized school board employees.
“Now more than ever is not the time to even consider making any budget cuts in Education, on the contrary investments need to be made. Imagine in these economically challenging times, you would think relief would be granted. Still, educators need to fight for what is rightfully due to them,” said President of the WITU Stuart Johnson.
The letter addressed to the Minister states, “The undersigned representatives of the subsidized School Boards, herewith request an urgent meeting with your person.
The Government of Sint Maarten has executed the vacation allowance payment to civil servants, and teachers in the public sector ( Public Education). This action, by the Government of Sint Maarten, is deemed unlawful against the backdrop of the current laws - approved by Parliament on the Cost Cutting measures and has created inequity within the Education sector.
The core objective of the meeting will be to address, amongst others, the following:
1. The Cost-Cutting Measures laws, and the letters of instructions issued to the School Boards
2. Calculation of the 12.5% cost-cutting per school board - and the Government's non-response
3. 12.5% reduction on the structural subsidy - timeline and expectations
4. Government's expectations and responsibilities - vacation allowance
5. Liability and risks - associated with the payout of the vacation allowance
Given the matter at hand, the urgency that it presents for the well-being of our team members, and the definite impact on the quality of education, we request the meeting to be held no later than ultimately July 8, 2022.
We look forward to a response from the Government, through your person, soonest.”
“I trust this requested meeting will be convened quickly as Government has already set clear precedence as it pertains to the payment of the vacation allowance,” Johnson concluded.