Which part of HELP don’t you understand?

We heard from Arubus drivers last week. They were unhappy.

Then just now, they announced they will be striking at 7:3am, in time to get the kids to school, hitting the community where it hurts.

We heard from Elmar employees, twice. They were unhappy, and mind you, they are among BEST paid in the country.

Allow me to rehash!

At the beginning of the pandemic in March-April, GOA asked the public-sector to help, by giving up a portion of its pay under the solidarity umbrella, thousands lost their jobs in the private-sector, GOA needed funds to pay for FASE, a wage subsidy program for the unemployed, and turned to the public-sector to help save the private-sector.

After all, the private-sector has been footing the bill for the public-sector for the past 30+years – this time the shoe was on the other foot.

You’d think they’d say, with pleasure, we’re here for you, brothers.


The MinPres had to force the issue, using all her negotiation skills to get the public-sector to comply, at a mere 12.5% reduction.

Under the solidarity umbrella Ministers and Parliamentarians agreed on a 25% pay cut.

Then various GOA unions reluctantly approved a combo, 5% reduction in pay and the rest comes off quarterly bonuses, awarded in the public sector midyear, Summer, Fall, Winter & Spring, yes, the public sector gets four extra payouts!

Did you know?

What they agreed was the following, Summer and Fall payouts were slashed in half, but the last one, voorjaarspremie, also known as Bashipremie, in January, was paid in full, plus a raise, a total of Awg 1,812 per head – it’s best translated as Broke Subsidy, or the subsidy you get when your pocket is empty after the Christmas New Year splurge.    

Obviously, the people who came to our rescue, the Dutch, want the public-sector to continue with this show of solidarity, with a 12.5% reduction in pay, into 2021. The crisis is not over yet. On the contrary, many feel it has just begun.

FPNC, Fundacion Pa Nos Comunidad, the operator of the national food bank reports that after two casinos closed, their employees signed up for food aid, adding to the current load of 4,200 needy families.

While in December some FPNC aid-recipients exited the system — reportedly some jobs were made available with the increase in tourism. But this increase is about to subside with the new restrictions imposed by the USA and the testing requirement of outbound visitors, that might dampen their enthusiasm for Aruba.

Because the Dutch are expecting salary cuts of all public employees and ministers until further notice, Parliament approved it, as required, HOPING public entities will follow. 

GOA made a strong appeal to each of the public entities, WEB, ELMAR, SERLIMAR, ARUBS – a total of 18, to please continue with austerity through 2021.

It is by now public knowledge that reductions are conditional to continued financial support, and companies who cannot comply were instructed to discuss it with MinPres in order to look for other solutions.

Aruba has been given until February 12th, 2021 to hand in a budget for discussion and analysis, and we’d better be prepared for our financial supervision with all directives in place so that we secure enough funds to pay our debts, expenditures, FASE, salary subsidies, and the financial support given to small and medium businesses. 

The MinPres appealed, and so far the Union Representatives – SEPPA, STA, UEA, ALVAST, stick to their guns. They want their money, they don’t care.

Remember, the loans Aruba is receiving depend on their continued collaboration!

This austerity business is not easy, but it is TOUGHER on the private-sector, the public-sector has hardly suffered. We all must learn all do with less, and for longer periods of time. Which part of that, don’t they understand??

So far calls for unity and solidarity have been poopooed, dismissed outright.

Salary cuts inconvenience many of the spoiled and pampered members of our public-sector.  

Dear reader: Get a flashlight, stock up on water.


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January 26, 2021
Rona Coster