The Saint Lucia Fire Service Association has declared that the government should be blamed for any suffering caused to citizens, as firefighters continue their strike action.
Association President, Shane Felix, asserted Monday night that the government is trying to pin the blame for the current situation on the strikers.
But Felix said the association issued a letter since March 13, 2019 notifying the authorities of the strike action.
However he observed that the association is yet to get to the point of sitting with the employer to decide on the way forward.
Felix made it clear that until issues affecting firefighters are addressed, they will withhold their labour.
He made the comments during ‘Police Insight’ aired on MBC Television.
Felix said firefighters are only receiving promises while they are made to look as though they’re unconcerned about their jobs.
“If we get to the point of Saint Lucians suffering under this, you only have the employer to blame for the fact that they are deliberately dragging their feet,” the Fire Service Association President asserted.
“There is true commitment and it is not about us not being concerned about Saint Lucians, but the employer needs to understand that they need to address this – we are too reactive in Saint Lucia,” Felix said.
He also took Fire Chief, Joseph Joseph, to task over a letter Joseph wrote to the Fire Service Association.
As far as Felix was concerned, the Fire Chief was touching on issues that are outside of his scope of authority.
“You are accusing the Association of violation of the collective agreement. The collective agreement is signed between the employer and the association. You have no jurisdiction over that. Why would you even try to point that out to the association and where is the violation that you speak of?” He asked.
“You speak of the fact that fire officers went to a meeting of the CSA without seeking your approval. Fire officers are on industrial action. We told the employer that we were gathering for a meeting.We don’t need your permission to gather for a meeting,” Felix declared in response to the letter from the Fire Chief.
He said he was disappointed that the Fire Chief would seek to intimidate the Fire Service Association and fire officers.