Members of the St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) unanimously rejected the government’s proposed 5 per cent wage cut during a meeting last Thursday (June 26).
SLFSA President Shane Felix told St Lucia News Online (SNO) today (June 30): “The members were unanimous in their decision. They voted against the wage cut and I am going to make that submission to government today.”
While, the SLFSA has agreed to join in discussions with the Government Negotiating Team (GNT), Felix told SNO that he will be pressing to have issues relating to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) addressed.
“We are saying that the concerns are way too serious for the authorities not to be dealing with them and further to come to Fire Service officers and talking to them on a wage-cut proposal. So we would like to see that those issues are dealt with before we look into wage cut,” he added.
The SLFSA had proposed to meet with its members earlier this month based on a recommendation from government, but was barred from doing so by the top management of the Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS), hence the reason for the late decision.
SLFSA members had voted in favour of industrial action as they sought to get the authorities to pay attention to a number of outstanding grievances. While they were successful in taking industrial action, it only lasted one weekend.
After that move, news surfaced that the Fire Service had fire officials from St .Vincent and the Grenadines as a backup in case of further industrial action.
The SLFSA members say they are fed up with the management of the Fire Department and are concerned that the recommendations of the COI into the Fire Service have not been implemented. They said that a number of complaints, dating back to several years, have gone unheeded by successive administrations.