Minister of VSA attends 112th ILO Session and Handles Two Complaints

June 16, 2024 10:29 pm

Minister Veronica Jansen-Webster, responsible for Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (Ministry VSA), attended the 112th session of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The ILO is the only tripartite UN agency that brings together governments, employers, and workers from its member states to promote decent work worldwide.

Minister Jansen-Webster's presence at the conference was particularly significant for Sint Maarten, one of the countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Sint Maarten was called before the Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) to address two labor-related complaints. The first complaint concerned the right to strike, with uncertainties about whether people could strike without facing penalties. 

The second, more challenging complaint, dealt with the identification of employer organizations on the island. This issue had caused delays in appointing members to the Social Economic Council (SER) for over a year due to a dispute over the legitimate representation of employer organizations.

Minister Jansen-Webster’s presentation was well-received. The director of the CAS Mrs. Corinne Vargha personally thanked her for attending in person and providing a clear explanation of the situation. The delegation from Aruba's government supported Sint Maarten, participating in numerous meetings during the conference.

The CAS committee reviewed the information from the Government of St. Maarten and requested the government to establish clear criteria for the representativeness of employers' and workers' organizations through consultation with social partners. 

The committee urged the Government of St. Maarten to engage in effective dialogue with these organizations on all relevant issues, adhering to the convention, including the composition of the socio-economic council (SER).

Additionally, the committee called for measures to ensure SER representatives are appointed by fully autonomous organizations chosen by workers and employers, and to convene the SER promptly. The committee also asked for updates on these recommendations and any outstanding information by September 1, 2024.

During the ILO conference, Minister Jansen-Webster also met with the Dutch ambassador Mr. Paul Bekkers and the Netherlands' Minister of Labor, Karien van Gennip. These discussions were fruitful, leading to a report with several recommendations for Sint Maarten to ensure compliance with international labor covenants.​