The Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) has said that it is unhappy with the planned termination of 28 staff members of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB).
The SLTB is transitioning to a Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.
CSA General Secretary, Wilfred Pierre, told a news conference this morning that the union has sought the intervention of the Labour Commissioner in the matter of the impending SLTB staff terminations.
Tracing events dating back to last month, Pierre explained that CSA members at the SLTB had informed the union in November of the intended transition to a Tourism Authority and the effect of such a move on them.
He explained that the CSA wrote a letter to the Tourist Board on November 9, 2016, outlining the union’s concerns.
The CSA General Secretary said the SLTB responded on November 11, 2016.
“All they did was they noted our letter – they noted what we had indicated in the letter,” Pierre said.
He told the news conference that the union heard nothing afterwards and tried its best to arrange a meeting with the Chairperson of the STLB – without success.
“We had an indication that the members would have suffered because of the transitioning,” Pierre stated.
He said the CSA received a letter from the SLTB on December 6, 2016, indicating terminations at the body.
“We were not happy about that situation because we would have expected dialogue to take place since it is a serious matter when you have people being terminated, especially in this current environment,” the CSA General Secretary asserted.
He said the union wrote to the SLTB on December 12, 2016, indicating the union’s concerns.
According to Pierre, the letter was a very strong one, indicating that the CSA would meet with the Labour Department to arrange dialogue between the two parties.
He revealed that the Labour Commissioner indicated that he would try to have a meeting today.
Pierre said when persons are terminated, the labour code indicates that every effort should be made to see whether the situation can be reserved and employee losses can be mitigated.
He noted that it must be ensured that employee benefits are obtained.
“The members are agitated because their income will be lost during the festive season; they have commitments – so we are taking that matter very, very seriously,” Pierre declared.
CSA President, Yvonne Edwin, expressed the hope that the SLTB staff being targeted for termination could be absorbed.
“We still feel there is room for dialogue,” Edwin said.