Valero employees have been on strike in Aruba since 6:00 AM on Tuesday in Aruba. Now management says, they will not reopen negotiations … “Our last offer is the best and is definite.” Just another sign of more stability and an inaction of compromise. No matter what management says, the production of a refinery is never 100% operational and functional without the 375 union members on strike, otherwise why would they be employed in the first place.
Amigoe; November 30, 2006: Impasse with strike Valero
Some of the strikers that gathered at the main entrance of Valero in San Nicolas.
ORANJESTAD – Management of Valero says that the strike that is going on since 06:00 on Tuesday will not help reopening the negotiations again. “Our last offer is the best and is definite”, says spokesperson David Smith.
On behalf of management, Smith indicated that he does not understand why the strikers have rejected this offer. He assumes that this is not really the case. Of the approximately 375 union members, he says that 15 to 20 were working on Tuesday, and they had indicated not having been consulted about the offer, which remains good till 2011 and has a 1000-florin bonus per year, an annual salary increase between the 4 to 6 percent, an improvement of the pensions and the end of the year payment, and several secondary terms of employment.
According to management, Valero is one of the best paying employers in Aruba. That the salaries here are lower than those in the US has to do with the higher living standard over there. We relate the salaries of our people to the cost of living in the region in question. The salaries of our employees in the different parts of the US are not everywhere the same”, says Smith.
Valero’s salaries are never related to production- or profit figures. That’s irrelevant when it comes to determining the salary level. That the refinery in San Nicolas had excellent production in 2005 does not mean that it has to be involved with the proposals for the CAO.
Giving such short notice about going on strike was not nice of the union. “We had a gentlemen’s agreement that we would be notifies 72 hours in advance so we can take measures to secure the production and safety. The union gave us notice of the strike 6 hours in advance.”
We didn’t have any trouble with continuing the production, and this is because right when Valero had started negotiating the CAO, the company had started training her staff-members to do operational functions, in order to take over in case of a strike.
Valero had approached all the union-members yesterday to tell them exactly what the new offer implies exactly. He expects that once it becomes clear what the benefits of the new CAO are for the employees, the strike will come to an end soon. Till then, Valero can safely continue with production, thanks to well-trained staff members.
Union-leader Johannes Anthony stands firm. He denies not having consulted the members. “We deliberated on Monday evening. And the fact that about 97 percent of our members are outside the gate, shows our unanimity in rejecting the proposal.” He says that he and his members will sustain the strike as long as necessary, until he gets management at the table again.
Smith said that the strike will not have influence on the availability of fuel in Aruba. The refinery runs on her normal capacity. Besides, Valero San Nicolas does not produce and deliver gas or kerosene. Nevertheless, there were long lines at the gas stations around noon yesterday.