The Bottom, Saba – A new Agreement on the Terms of Employment was signed on Monday for all personnel working at the schools on Saba. The agreement includes a 3.4 per cent increase of the gross salaries which goes into effect on January 1, 2019.
Representatives of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science OCW, the Public Entity Saba, the Department of Education, Culture and Science of the National Government Service for the Caribbean Netherlands RCN/OCW, the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) and the Sacred Heart School were present at the short signing ceremony at the Government Administration Building in The Bottom.
In September this year, parties had already arrived at an agreement for the education personnel in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The day after the signing in Saba, a similar Agreement on the Terms of Employment was also signed in St. Eustatius on Tuesday, followed by Bonaire this Thursday. The agreement applies to the personnel of all schools in the Caribbean Netherlands, both teaching and support staff.
Present at the signing of the agreement on Saba was Director-General of the Ministry of OCW Alida Oppers. She said that there was a “powerful commitment” to securing a high standard of education. “You deliver on this commitment. That is clear to us in The Hague. By jointly formalizing our agreements in the education agenda, we have sealed our collective commitment,” said Oppers.
The Director-General said that the stakeholders would continue to work on improving education in the Caribbean Netherlands, a cooperation that is part of the second education agenda, called “Working together on the next step,” which focuses on a number of themes, most notably how to further improve the quality of education. She said that this called for an additional effort on the islands because of their unique situation. “That is why it is a key focus for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.”
Oppers praised the work that has been done at the schools on Saba. “The fact that the quality of education has improved so strongly in recent years deserves a major compliment to you. One clear example of this is achieving the basic quality standards, a result that has been delivered thanks to your efforts.”
Part of the education agenda is to establish clear and favourable terms of employment for teaching staff as a precondition for achieving a high standard of education. “After all, good education starts with professional and dedicated staff. And professional and dedicated staff deserve good terms and conditions,” said Oppers.
The Agreement on the Terms of Employment includes a 3.4 per cent increase of the gross salaries. The staff at the schools will benefit from the fact that Dutch Government is reducing the employers’ premiums in the Caribbean Netherlands per January 1, 2019. Oppers explained that this allowed for a pay rise without increasing the cost of wages.
The measure, firstly designed to bring about a rise in the minimum wage, creates room for an additional wage increase in education. This will bring the total wage increase at to 5.1per centper January 1, 2019. The signing of the Agreement on Terms of Employment secures this salary increase. “I see this as extra support for the education you stand for, the education you work hard to realize every day,” said Oppers.
Apart from Director-General Oppers and her delegation, present at the signing on Saba on Monday were: Commissioner of Education Bruce Zagers, Reynolds Oleana and Elvin Henriquez of RCN/OCW, Chairman of the Board of the SCS Franklin Wilson, Mark Dodds and Tracy Zagers-Johnson of SCS, and Orlando Mc. Pherson of the Sacred Heart School.