“We won’t hold anything against you”- SLFSA says about firemen who refuse to protest

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“We won’t hold anything against you”- SLFSA says about firemen who refuse to protest
Fire Service officers on the job.
Fire Service officers on the job.

As the St. Lucia Fire Service Association (SLFSA) continues its protest action, it has reiterated the reasons behind this move.

The SLFSA issued an official statement on its Facebook page yesterday, stressing several points.

The post started out by saying that it is surprising that some of its members are now claiming that they are not aware of the issues, which would have caused firefighters to take the stance.

“We know you do comrades and we won’t hold anything against you for exercising your right to remain on duty. This fight is for all of us, whether you” stood up or not.”

The statement went on to say that the SLFSA will not discriminate or allow the matter to divide its members. However, the association said the issues they are faced with have been lingering for close to seven years and is demanding that they are addressed once and for all.

In highlight of these issues, the SLFSA alleged that the chief fire officer (CFO) wrote to the authorities to have specific doctors assigned to the Fire Service and “other uniformed organisations”, saying if firefighters visited any other doctor apart from those in his recommendation, and receives sick leave, such leave shall be unpaid leave and will further be deducted from the firefighter’s vacation leave.

According to the association, the Service Regulations, Part 1, section 17, asks that vacancies be advertised before recommendations are made to the Ministry of Home Affairs by the CFO, since 1979. To date, three separate permanent secretaries have allegedly written to the CFO on five occasions quoting that law and asking the CFO to advertise vacancies.

“To date, not once has this been done. Yet senior management within the Fire Service says that it is the association that is to be blamed for the lack of promotions since 2009. Yes folks, no promotion for firemen since 2009.”

Whereas the collective agreement between the government and the SLFSA recognises the SLFSA as the only collective-bargaining agent for firefighters, the CFO allegedly wrote to the Ministry of Home Affairs making counter proposals on the association’s initial proposal to the GNT.

The association has also alleged that the CFO wrote to the ministry, recommending the removal of an allowance being paid to firefighters, negotiated between the association and the GNT, while totally overlooking the association’s negotiation responsibility to its members.

“Documents addressed to the permanent secretary of Home Affairs Ministry through the CFO were not being forwarded to the ministry by the CFO, but members would receive a response from the CFO,” it added. This, the SLFSA said is a clear violation of section 10.1 of the Staff Orders.

The lack of equal opportunity in promotion, transfers, training, acting appointments are all violations of the Equality of Opportunity and Treatment in Employment and Occupation Act, which is another major concern for the association.

“Members were being paid subsistence/relocation allowances contrary to Cabinet Conclusion No. 765 of 1995, while senior officers were being paid the in full compliance.”

The SLFSA alleged that the CFO had instructed members not to copy correspondences dealing with welfare issues and addressed to him, to the SLFSA. The association believes is an attempt to muzzle members.

“Certain members were given over-lapping acting appointments while others overlooked. Even in a case of an acting appointment while the member was on pre-retirement leave.”

Further, the SLFSA said they were being made to pay damages to Fire Service-assigned vehicles involved in vehicular accidents without activating the processes of the government’s accident board.”

The association questioned the reason behind investments such as the US$500 knox boxes, the US$17,000 water pump and gas-guzzling ambulances that have never been used in the Fire Service.

The association added that firefighters continue to resign, retire and be seconded and there are no replacements. Even in light of this, temporary staff continues to be kept on contract.

Firefighters vacation days are also allegedly being taken away from them because they exceeded 21 days of certified sick leave in a year.

“Members continue to perform duties above their substantive ranks without compensation of an honorarium. Junior staff have been suspended and dismissed for similar or less infractions than those committed by senior officers,” the statement added.

The statement ended by saying: “Let’s not fight amongst ourselves. We are not the enemy. Let’s stand up for the better good of all of us. Today’s straight up programme basically confirmed that the Commission of Inquiry was just a sham, to keep us quiet. Not even the recommendations seem credible, according to the host.”

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Guys fight for what u deserve,This BS has been going on for too long.

    Have some respect for those hard working men.
    Fonte is a real asshole and knows very little
    in fire fighting and prevention.

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  2. There are souceres everywhere. Typical of the black tribe. This is why the slave masters use to divide and conquer. The same tactic is being used as there are a few minions instead of standing up with their black brothers but those traitors have a day in hell

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  3. Ooh Hoo. Well here is some news for you guys and the Government to think about. In SUIT NO. SLUHCV2012/0610 between CHIEF and
    1. THE FIRE SERVICE ASSOCIATION and three other parties

    The High Court in its judgement as to costs acknowleged that the parties (primarily The Fire Chief and the SLFSA) had come to an agreement that they would put their differences aside and participate and take cognisance of an impending Commission of INquiry. IN her Jugement the Master said, and i quote

    “The decision to discontinue was as a consequence of
    the posture taken by some of the parties to the litigation who were involved in
    related proceedings before a Commission of Inquiry convened to investigate allegations of fraud and corruption within the management of the fire services of
    St. Lucia. These allegations had caused a rift between management and the rank
    and file officers and had undermined one of the island’s essential services.Apparently and for the greater good of the country both the management of the fire services and the rank and file officers, agreed to cease the feuding between them, resulting in the culmination of the Commission of Inquiry.

    The other 3 defendants in the case received a substancially smaller amount of cost since they were not directly involved in the fracas. The Master goes on to say and i quote

    “I consider all the submissions made to be relevant to the determination of costs. I found the request for consideration of the greater good of the country to be most compelling. The proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry indirectly impacted the entire country and had been concluded in the most conciliatory fashion. It would not
    auger well for these proceedings to linger with a regretful after taste when the
    issue had been put on such a positive footing.”

    So this sustancially the Master making a ruling based on the establishment of a Commission of INquiry and the greater good of the country. Now tell me what would be the result of this judgement or implications of the Commission of Inquiry if its results were not implemented? It would be tanatamount to a perversion of Justice where the Court was lead to believe that this thing would have been settled, thus validating the reduced cost payments to defendants 2-4. Plus not acting in the interest of the country. It may be that Defendants 2-4 would therefore have recourse since they were estopped from claiming their full compensation based on a future event, which is the Commision of Inquiry and the remedies arising. There sre more interesting things in this Inquiry but i leave it for later.

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  4. Why yall stupid fellas dont cool out, always depending on government to spoon feed yall, if tings not right jah give yall hands and feet for a reason..do something. Stop "protesting" like yall in the Middle East

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  5. So if you pregnant then you cant see a specific OBGYN?????
    Pappy Show.....These guys are a set of bullies. Why cant the government see that???

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  6. i wish to ask all union member to start the 1st step in solidarity. By puting as your Ring tone on your Phone

    I am wondering is this a comunist country. We Cant write with our ouwn pen. We are told which Dr. we Should go to and i can asure you thereis more to come. Let us stand up with the emergency workers of this country.

    Today its the fire service tomorrow may b me..us..you. We must all take this thing seriouly.

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  7. IS the Chief paying the Doctor's Visit for the officers? This is infringing on the rights of all UNIFORMED officers. People have their own personal doctors.

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  8. Guys all I can say is continue to stand for your rights. St.Lucia needs a shake up. May I also sugguest that you all hold a prayer vigil ,the word of god say. Seek ye first the kingdom of god and all things shall be added onto you. Remember

    Ephesians 6:12

    12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

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  9. If the recommendations are not credible then why did your gov't use 1 million dollars of tax payers money to finance it? There we go again with a gov't who just does whatever they feel like. The host of this show has been on Felix's back like a tick however he continues to refuse to invite him to his show. Firemen and women open your eyes stand up and be counted. You have more support than you think you do. Its about time your issues are resolved. Great move!!

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