Union chairman expresses concern regarding airport safety
The chairman of the union representing the workers at Airport Management, Lloyd Read, on Monday indicated that he doubts if the safety at the nation’s international airport is actually guaranteed now that the workers are on strike. He pointed out that the duties of the workers have been taken over by firefighters and workers who have not worked regular operational services for quite some time. “Sham measures have been taken,” said the union chairman. Management at the airport on Monday indicated that the safety at the airport and the processing of international flights are guaranteed. Management also pointed out that travelers who are scheduled to departure can check in at the time given to them by the airliners. People who must pick up travelers from the airport are also being assured that there will be no flight delays. Everything went smoothly on Monday.
The union chairman explained that the workers on Monday decided to go on strike because the wages have not been paid as has been agreed. He explained that an agreement from 2003 clearly states that the wages must be based on the official exchange rates at the Central Bank of Suriname (CBvS). In April the workers received their wages at an exchange rate of SRD 4.68. But the exchange rate at the Central Bank is currently much higher. Read pointed out that management on Monday offered to base the wages on an exchange rate of SRD 5 but that the workers rejected the offer. The union prefers a middle course between the exchange rate of SRD 4.68 and the current exchange rate at the Central Bank. Read pointed out that he understands that the company is in financial trouble as a result of mismanagement. But he also pointed out that the workers must not be the ones to pay the price for the wrong decisions of the previous director at Airport Management. The director reportedly left the company with many debts while also having failed to hand over the premiums for retirement, old age pension and taxes. The union chairman made it clear that the workers want the former director to be prosecuted.