General strike ends; Contract workers celebrate
WILLEMSTAD – After a day of widespread power outages and frustration from locals and tourists, the general strike was ended last night. Unions agreed to the offer of 1.8 million guilders for their members. The offer was made by the private sector
The union SGTK of contract workers at the oil refinery Isla, has fought for three weeks for a lump sum for the years 2015 and 2016. The Antillean Contractors Association (AAV) do not have to come with the all the money on its own. Other private companies will also assist in paying the workers.
Curacao sighed yesterday under inoperative air conditioners because of the power outage that affected about 80% of the island. This was the result of Aqualectra employees who also joined the general strike. The company was not able to generate enough electricity. The electricity came back late last night.
Not only the locals but also tourists were victims of the general strike. Some hotels were without power, and shops and restaurants in downtown Willemstad remained closed. Motorists had to be careful because the traffic lights were not functioning. The hospitality organization CHATA was anything but happy with the strike. “The situation does not contribute to a positive experience.”
But there was no riots and violence. Union leader Errol Cova celebrated the agreement after an afternoon of negotiations as a victory. Earlier in the day, the judge in summary proceedings agreed with the union and ruled that their strike was lawful.