JUSTICE AT SINT MAARTEN: New dispute between employees and boss against a background of health crisis


At the end of March 2020, when the Sint Maarten government announced the airport due to the pandemic, a local airline based in St Maarten saw its activity almost stopped. It decides to impose on all employees to take two weeks of leave then to lower wages by 25% and reduce working time to 32 hours per week. The pilots' union and the employees accept the proposal.

Then the government of Sint Maarten put in place a plan to financially support companies to keep their employees and authorized companies to reduce by 12,5% ​​the temps of work. In April 2021, the union proposes to the employer to implement the reduction of 12,5% ​​and a 13th month. The employer replied that in view of his deplorable financial situation in particular, he could not accept this proposal. In July, the company posted a debt of $ 11 million.

For the pilots' union, this 12,5% ​​is the maximum threshold that a boss can apply. With the employees, he thus took legal action.

After analysis of the elements, the Sint Maarten court affirms that "nowhere does the legal text indicate that the 12,5% ​​is a maximum salary discount". He further considers that “the union and employees must accept the employer's reasonable offer for a 25% pay cut; the alternative is bankruptcy. The employer's offer (25% less work and less salary to safeguard the company and employment as much as possible) is therefore not manifestly unacceptable ”. The union and the employees were therefore dismissed.

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