The Saint Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) has written the Acting Fire Chief Lambert Charles requesting a meeting with him. The meeting, according to former Chairman of the SLFSA Shane Felix is to begin dialogue with senior management on the issues confronting the association.
Felix said a correspondence was dispatched last week requesting this meeting and the association is now awaiting a response from the acting fire chief. Felix said given the nature of the relationship between senior management and the SLFSA in the past, he is hoping to change this.
Felix said the association is first looking to have these issues discussed with Charles and other managers of the Fire Service and see how best they can come to a compromise. Once discussions between both parties are over, the association will also seek to meet again with officials from the National Security Ministry.
The SLFSA had started meeting with ministry officials since the beginning of the strike, which occurred a few months ago. The association was able to have the ministry look into a number of issues that it was faced with and have been able to get the ministry, to push ahead with an election.
Felix said the discussions will be conducted on good faith, as the association is seeking to have its issues resolved in amicable way, without resorting to strike action. He is hoping that the Fire Service management will present a favorable response to the association’s concerns.
Felix had told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in a previous interview that he believes the SLFSA is still being “undermined” and “disregarded”. Felix said the SLFSA is not being seen as a representative body and may be the reason why there are so many issues, confronting the fire service.
He believes once proper recognition is given to the organisation, there will be fewer issues. Felix said despite the negative effects caused by the strike action, it has been an eye opener for many firefighters.
Felix said the workforce now understands the need for an association, what its responsibilities are and the type of representation they can get.
The association has also written to the Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, but has not received a response. The SLFSA has been meeting regularly with officials of the National Security Ministry.