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WITU submits a petition for payment of Vacation Allowance 2022.

stuartwitu17052022PHILIPSBURG:--- President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Stuart Johnson said, “Our members feel overworked, underpaid, and burnt out to the core. At times they are tired. However, the ongoing saga of the pending payment of the vacation allowances must end now once and for all.”

Johnson submitted the petition on Tuesday afternoon at the Government Administration Building. He was accompanied by WITU board member Silvy Ravenberg and two general members of the WITU.

WITU is seeking the full payment of the 2022 vacation allowance for all Civil Servants and Employees of Government-subsidized school boards.

The petition was submitted with 249 WITU members signing in full solidarity with the petition.

The WITU President outlined the contents of the petition that has nine points of motivation.

The nine points of motivation in the petition are:

1. That the Liquidity of the Government of St. Maarten is "decent" stated the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in the Council of Ministers Press Briefing of April 6th, 2022.

2. That the immediate approval and implementation of the Kingdom Act on the Caribbean Body for Reform and Development (COHO) has been postponed until further deliberations.

3. That the increase in the cost of living in St. Maarten continues to negatively impact
our members and the community.

4. That our members, which comprise civil servants and teaching and non-teaching the staff of subsidized school boards has not received cost of living adjustment (COLA) since 2012.

5. That the constant rise of fuel prices directly affects the cost of electricity bills by GEBE and other entities.

6. That the inflation of prices and lack of proper price controls especially on the essential food items are a reality.

7. That the annual expectation of utilizing the vacation allowance for house insurance, school fees, school uniforms, and other basic needs of sustaining a household is of utmost importance.

8. That the 2022 Hurricane season predicted on April 7th, 2022, will be above average thus households must secure the necessary supplies to ensure full preparedness.

9. That the COVID-19 pandemic clearly revealed the importance of Teaching and Non- teaching staff as essential workers in the overall development of children.

Johnson stated, “there must be further dialogue and mutual agreements made with a number of issues between WITU and Government. However, the blatant lack of respect for our members continues, and so additional steps will follow."

The WITU will be monitoring any developments within the next two weeks especially as it pertains to the payment of the Vacation Allowance 2022.

"I have remained open to discussing and addressing several matters of concern for our members. Communication with the Government has been clearly documented every step of the way. However, it is being ignored and I have to see where that takes us next," Johnson concluded.

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