Curaçao Refinery wants new contract with union representative

WILLEMSTAD - The trade unions representing the refinery workers, Apri and PWFC, are putting pressure on the government-owned company Refineria di Korsou, Curaçao Refinery (RdK). President of PWFC, Angelo Meyer says he can no longer vouch for the members of his union, because they will take the law into their own hands seeing the uncertainty about their future employment.

They want answers to two questions: which partner/party is being negotiated with (about taking over the operation of the Isla refinery if the lease contract with Venezuelan PdVSA expires at the end of this year)? And is PdVSA itself also in the race (as a candidate to continue after December 31)?

Those pressing questions, which live not only among the Isla unions and employees but broadly among all layers and groups of society, could not, at the beginning of this week, be answered by the RdK.

In the meantime, it was announced that exclusive negotiation with Klesch Group will continue in the coming period. Interim director Marcelino de Lannoy explains what has been discussed with the unions Apri and PWFC. De Lannoy had a follow-up meeting at the beginning of this week with the union leaders, who expressed their concern. Apart from the two urgent questions - which have now been answered - the role of former trade unionist and former politician, Errol Cova, in its entirety was also considered.

The trade unions PWFC and Apri have indicated that Cova will remain their representative and that they will not change their position. RdK, in turn, has indicated that it will be investigated in the coming period whether it will be possible to continue with Cova under the current contract. It is not clear whether Cova can meet the existing contract, given its role as a representative of the two trade unions.

In any case, for RdK it is certain that Errol Cova is not the representative of all unions representing the interests of employees that the new operator of Isla will take over. Other trade unions that represent the refinery staff are STK and SGTK. According to Apri and PWFC, they have always fought for a representative of the unions within the negotiating team regarding the future of the refinery.

This was first the case within the Multidisciplinary Project Team (MDPT) and they also want that for the Project Management Organization (PMO). Apri and PWFC believe that Cova has been appointed in PMO as a representative of the trade unions and also as a contact person for when talking to Venezuela. However, Cova is kept outside of PMO.

Cova's conflict of interest is one of the obstacles plus that he does not enjoy the confidence of all trade unions. RdK director De Lannoy would like to come to a new contract with Cova based on an "appointment list", but Apri and PWFC cannot agree to this.

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