Executive members of the St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) have agreed to end the strike action that began on Sept. 1, 2014.
The decision was made during a meeting this afternoon between Acting Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre; Minister for Legal Affairs, Home Affairs and National Security, Victor Philip La Corbiniere; and Minister for the Public Service, Dr. James Fletcher, and seven members of the SLFSA led by its chairman, Shane Felix.
Spokesperson for the SLFSA Damien Jn Baptiste told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that they have agreed to return to work as of 5 p.m. today after coming to a resolution with government.
Jn Baptiste told SNO that the details of the meeting will be released tomorrow after meeting with members.
In a written statement released by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) late this afternoon, the meeting “provided an avenue for discussion and agreement on the way forward, which included the involvement of the Saint Lucia Fire Service Association in the process which would lead to the development of a Promotions Policy for the Saint Lucia Fire Service”.
Other matters discussed, according to the statement, included the “provision of access to the office of the Association at the Headquarters, a review of the terms and conditions for auxiliary fire fighters and the activation of an Honorarium Committee to duly recognize staff who are performing duties above their ranks”.
The statement added: “Clarification was also provided on the secondment of the Chief Fire Officer and the announcement of a review of the operations and management of the Saint Lucia Fire Service by a team of British experts. The meeting also agreed that the Ministries of the Public Service and Home Affairs and the Saint Lucia Fire Service shall develop a mechanism to respond to the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. In the end, there was an agreement that members would resume normal duties as of 5:00pm today. Dialogue is expected to continue to address some of the issues which have been outstanding for many years.”
The SLFSA initiated strike action on September 1. Since then, they’ve had several meetings to discuss their issues and bring it to the attention of government, demanding that they are resolved.
The SLFSA had requested that disciplinary action be taken against Chief Fire Officer Leslie Fontenelle. Prime Minister Anthony has since announced the secondment of the chief fire officer to the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority.