The St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) is to some extent still being “undermined” and “disregarded”, according to Former Chairman Shane Felix.
Felix told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today that 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 explained that the SLFSA is not a rank in the department, rather it is an organisation created by the laws of the St. Lucia Fire Service, to represent the interest of all firefighters.
“Once we get to that point where the authorities recognizes the association for what it is, I think that in itself, will assist in moving forward with the other issue we have,” he added.
The SLFSA and government are still to discuss a number of issues, many of which have been left unresolved for a number of years. Felix said discussions in this regard have been moving at a slow pace, but noted that a few things have been corrected.
However, despite the obstacles the fire association official told SNO that the recent strike action 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.
Meanwhile, in providing an update on some of other matters, Felix said SLFSA is now awaiting the management of the Fire Service to sit with them and agree on a date for the next elections. That date is usually decided by the Fire Chief.
The SLFSA is hoping that elections could be completed before the end of this month.
“It’s really the Chief Fire Officer who presides over the elections. He would just seek our assistance, but it’s really all up to him,” Felix explained.
The association has also written to the Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, on the outcome of the meeting with a few ministers of government, during his absence. The SLFSA is awaiting a response from the prime minister and hopefully have the other issues addressed.
“We have written the Ministry of Public Service on some issues coming out of the meeting with government and about several things that were are not pleased with,” he added. Felix however, did not venture to explain what these issues are.
The association has also been able to complete its proposal for submission to the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) since it was given the keys to its new office. The executive is now awaiting a response from the GNT, on a date to meet and discuss better working conditions for its members.