New benefits for St Maarten’s Airport employees – Men now to get seven days paternity leave

Princess Juliana Int’l Airport operating company N.V. (PJIAE), along with the Windward Island Civil Servants Union (WICSU), and ABVO, concluded more than one year of negotiations when the new Collective Labor Agreement (CLA) was signed.

WICSU represents the Air Traffic Controllers, while the ABVO union represents the other unionized airport employees.

Present at the signing of the new labor agreement were Regina LaBega, Managing Director of PJIAE NV; Adrie Williams, vice president of ABVO (Curacao); Keturah Brown, president of ABVO (St. Maarten); Aurilio Baly, vice president of WICSU and a radar controller at PJIAE; Derie Leonard, president of WICSU; William Reed, General Secretary of WICSU; and Duncan van Heyningen, Shop Steward for WICSU at PJIAE. (PJIAE photo)

The signing took place on May 28 in the boardroom at the airport, marking the first time that the company has concluded one CLA with two unions.

According to PJIAE Human Resources Manager Norma Brill, the old CLA was expanded to include more benefits for the some 245 workers represented by the two unions.

With the new agreement, workers will receive increments on their salaries over the next three years, of between 2.5% and 2.6%.

Radar Controller Duncan van Heyningen, who is also vice president of the Air Traffic Controllers Association and PJIAE Shop Steward for WICSU, said under the new agreement, the male employees will be entitled to seven days paternity leave, instead of two.

According to Van Heyningen, “both parties understood each other and came to a consensus.” He said the new salary structure, based on a recently-concluded study, will take into account the cost of living and “weight of an employee’s function.”

The new salary structure should be in place by the end of June. Terms negotiated under the new CLA will apply to the new salary scale, said Van Heyningen.

“This CLA is not only beneficial to the employees, but the employer as well because when you maintain a happy atmosphere where employees feel appreciated, you end up with a better product,” said Van Heyningen.

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