Kralendijk/Oranjestad- On October 23th and 25th, representatives of the school boards, management and staff spoke respectively in Bonaire and St. Eustatius during a conference on collective labor agreements, the content of it and employee participation. The union representing employees in the education sector, Simabo, was also present during the meeting in Bonaire. The conference highlighted points for improvement, which should in particular lead to more authority of the local schools about their own employment conditions.
Ministers Van Engelshoven and Slob, of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) want to ensure that educational institutions in the Caribbean Netherlands (CN) can arrange their own affairs and if necessary, they will get support of the ministry. With the schools in CN they want to make a decision about the improvement of the employment conditions consultation and the employment conditions.
The conference, titled: ‘Employment conditions education: in whose court is the ball?’ is the first step that is taken to achieve this. Topics where they want to be able to have more influence include senior policy, working time, professionalization, limiting work pressure, incentive supplement. During the meetings it became clear that more cooperation is important in order to have influence on the employment conditions.
In 2014, employee participation in Dutch Caribbean education was introduced in a light form. During the conference it became clear that some schools are actively implementing employee participation, based on a covenant. At the same time, all parties feel the need to give more form and content to the employee participation in schools. For example, schools could make it more attractive to become a member of the Participation Council, e.g. by having teachers carry out these tasks during working hours. After all, a good involvement of teachers, parents and students contributes positively to the functioning of the schools.
In the near future a meeting will be held with the schools on Saba in order to discuss these themes. The ball is now in the court of the schools and employees. Supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), the output of the three meetings will be processed into a plan of action to implement the desired improvements, for both employment conditions and employee participation.