About ten years have passed since the manuscript of this history of Aruba was closed. That was when, on the Island Regulation taking effect in 1951, our island became independent. It is with pleasure that we now comply with the publisher's request to complete this second--in other respects unaltered edition--by giving a survey of the last few years. In writing this addition it cannot be our purpose to give a chronological report, for which we refer the reader to the papers. An impression is all that can be given within the compass of this postscript.
The new island administration, the Council, had only held the reins for a few weeks, when a serious labour conflict arose on Aruba. On 9th August 1951 an outlaw strike broke out at Lago Oil & Transport Company. In the course of a few days it assumed impressive proportions-- about 3,500 people took part in it--and necessitated drastic measures both on the part of the Insular Government and on that of the Federal Government. On Sunday August 12th the Council had an emergency meeting. Matters even came to such a pass that units of the Royal Dutch Marines had to become active against rioting groups, which, as it turned out, were mainly composed of imported hands. Certain wage demands formed the incitement to this strike.
After some days the parties reached an agreement, but the events of August 1951 caused the right to strike to be restricted. In 1952 the 1946 Federal Ordinance Concerning Labour Disputes and the Penal Code were modified accordingly.
In 1950 relations between management and labourers at Lago had been canalized by an agreement to be renewed every year between the management and the Lago Employee Council. In 1955 800 members of the Petroleum Workers' Federation of Aruba demanded a referendum as to the desirability of dissolving this Employee Council. This referendum was actually taken on 24-26 August 1955. Its results were in favour of a continuance of the Council, which accordingly remained the labourers' representative body.
At the request of the Petroleum Workers' Federation of Aruba another referendum about the same question was held in May 1957 again showing a preference for the continuation of the Employee Council. In November 1959 the Federation attempted to achieve their aims by means of a strike which resulted in failure through the tepid enthusiasm of the workers.