The St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) will be making a public statement on the ongoing industrial action taken by its members, tonight on the Hot Button Issue on Choice Television at 9 p.m.
President of the SLFSA Shane Felix told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that the statement will address the reasons behind the extension of the industrial action which began Monday, Sept. 1.
Felix said while the public is questioning this move – even as the government announced Fire Chief Leslie Fontenelle’s secondment – there are good reasons to continue the protest.
The SLFSA members met again yesterday to discuss the issue at hand before they could respond.
National Security Minister Victor La Corbiniere has said government will be making harsh decisions in relation to the continuing strike soon. The minister expressed disappointment with other trade unions for expressing solidarity with the SLFSA.
“The association is playing its own political game. They only recently wrote to me and they brought into focus a number of issues and one of those was the Commission of Inquiry,” he told the media.
He dubbed the missive sent to him by the SLFSA as discourteous. He also accused the firefighters of misbehaving even though they are the ones in the disciplined forces.
Meanwhile, President of the Trade Union Federation (TUF) Julian Monrose has accused La Corbiniere of issuing a threat to firefighters on strike.
Monrose said the minister’s statement, “This time around it will not be alright in the morning,” is a clear indication of a threat.
“We could not have a minister attempting to intimidate them. The TUF stands ready to support the fire officers,” the TUF president declared.
He noted that the minister’s statement on the small number of fire officers trying to do what they want to, speaks to the reason why the issues in the fire service were left to build up.
The TUF president has stressed that the government have the responsibility to listen to firefighters’ concerns and work with them to rectify the issues.