The Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) is concerned about safety in the workplace, amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The Island’s largest trade union expressed its concern in a notice to its members on Friday.
The notice was issued by CSA General Secretary Claude Paul.
Pail said the union had been made aware that some public service managers have instructed staff to end all alternative working arrangements, including rotations, and return to normal operations.
“After attempting to engage with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Public Service, who has overall responsibility for such matters, there appears to be no change to sudden change of policy,” the CSA official stated.
“We are obviously very concerned that public sector managers would take such an irresponsible position in the face of the extension of the State of Emergency (SOE), the recent trend of a rise in new COVID-19 cases and the latest pronouncements of the CMO concerning the possibility of a fourth wave of the pandemic,” Paul wrote.
As a result, he said the CSA was reminding its members and relevant heads of department of section 263 of the Labour Act.
Paul quoted the section as saying that:
“An employee may refuse to work or do particular work where the employee has reason to believe that
(a) any equipment, machine, device, substance or article the employee is to use or operate presents an imminent and serious danger to the life or health of himself or herself or another worker; or
(b) the physical condition of the workplace or the part in which the employee works or is to work presents an imminent and serious danger to his or her life, safety or health; until such time as the employee believes that measures have been undertaken by the employer to address the employees concerns”.
The CSA General Secretary declared that in the absence of proper arrangements for physical distancing and other protocols, union members face the risk of infection particularly as there are new and more infectious variants within close proximity.
In view of the situation, Paul said the CSA therefore advises its members to take the necessary action to avoid situations which they deem to be potentially harmful to their wellbeing.
“The CSA strongly believes that all work environments must remain safe and free of potential hazards to the health and general wellbeing of everyone concerned,” he stated.
Headline photo caption: Internet stock image courtesy Michael Soledad