St. Eustatius

Central Dialogue Statia never advised against increase of Minimum Wage

The Central Dialogue at inception in February 2020. Photo: Central Dialogue.

ORANJESTAD- The Central Dialogue in Statia (CDS), the body where government, unions and the private sector deliberate about social, economic and labor issues never advised against the raising of the minimum wage for the island.

According to Gerald Berkel, president of CDS, the way the issue has been presented during the debate in Dutch Parliament regarding the Kingdom Budget, has unfortunately painted an incorrect picture of the situation. During the deliberations in Parliament, Knops stated that the minimum wage on Bonaire and Saba would be increased per January 1, 2022 but not in St. Eustatius ‘as the Central Dialogue had advised against it’.

The Central Dialogue on Sunday sent out a press release, to clarify its position on the issue. “The CDS is of the opinion, given recent historical data as reported in the “Ecorys” report, that the development of the minimum wage as primary instrument to address poverty alleviation is not sufficient. The CDS is therefore recommending a comprehensive approach to poverty alleviation which includes social initiatives on both Federal and Island Governments levels simultaneously, in addition to the development of the minimum wage”, according to the statement.


The press release of CDS refers to an advice the body sent in July of this year to BZK, in which they stressed on the importance of an all-encompassing appraoch to poverty alleviation on the island.

“Of course we are in favor of a higher minimum wage. We did however also stress on the importance of knowing how this will be covered. Someone has to pay for higher minimum wages. Many businesses on the island are reeling from the effects of the Covid-crisis. This is especially important now that subsidy for wages and other support measures are coming to an end”, says Berkel in conversation with The BES-Reporter.

Charles Woodley, from the All-for-One union confirms the information from Berkel. “As a Union, fighting for the workers on the island, we can never be against an increase in the minimum wage. But we do want to know how this will be covered financially, and this is a question we have been asking. Without getting an answer, by the way”, says Woodley. Woodley said he was also surprised by the announcement of State Secretary Raymond Knops last week.

Island Council

Councilman Koos Sneek of the List Sneek in the meantime has also sent a letter to request an urgent meeting of the Island Council to address the issue. “This is an unpleasant surprise. How can it be that the minimum wage in Bonaire and Saba will increase per January 1, 2022, but not on Statia. How are you going to explain that to the people?”.

Deel dit artikel