Members of the St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) are hopeful that meetings with government to discuss issues affecting the fire service can be fruitful this time around, Chairman of the SLFSA Shane Felix has told St Lucia News Online (SNO).
“It has been done before we met and agreed before, but this time we can only be hopeful that we will be able to make the sort of progress we have been seeking for all of those years” Felix told SNO today, Monday, Sept. 15.
Felix said the association’s main focus at this time is to ensure that all issues agreed upon with government are dealt with in a timely manner.
“The association has a responsibility to follow up on those issues, continue the discussions with the authorities, and as much as possible, try to ensure that they implement some of those things” Felix said.
The chairman said he believes that the decisions are critical to staff morale. He added that if government understands the importance of what the Fire Service does, then there would be no issue in putting measures in place so that fire fighters can better execute their duties.
Felix pointed out that discussions with government are also aimed at implementing a promotion policy, since the Fire Service has seen no such promotions since 2009.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to submit the proposal of a promotion policy, which we have been working on for years, however, that would be submitted to the Fire Service by September 19,” Felix disclosed.
Once the proposal has been submitted to the Fire Service, a discussion will be held among its members, and if the terms and conditions are agreed on, the SLFSA will move to have it implemented.
The association’s chairman explained however, that while the officers have returned to work they are still a number of concerns that are being raised.
“Everyone is back at work, the discussions are long, about what transpired and what sort of image is out there in the public;whether people understand now what it is we have endured” Felix told SNO.
Felix also related that the SLFSA is looking to meet with the Ministry of Home Affairs to commence nominations and to elect a new executive for the association at a date still to be agreed upon.
The SLFSA ended an almost two-week strike action against the government on September 11 after discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre and other government officials.