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Firemenís Issues Being Addressed

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Thursday, May 4, 2006 - With the islandís firemen trickling back to work at the end of a suspected mass sick-out, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security says all the issues of concern raised by the protesting fire officers have been or are being addressed.

The majority of fire officers reported sick leave and stayed home to force attention to their concerns.
Among the concerns expressed were: excessive working hours, disparities in vacation leave, lack of appointment of a Fire Chief and a Deputy, alleged asbestos leakages at three fire stations and relocation of the central fire station in Castries.

Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Senator Calixte George says all of these issues have been or are being addressed.

The Minister says the matters of excess working hours and disparities in vacation leave for officers of same rank are being addressed by the Ministry of the Public Service, while the Public Service Commission (PSC) is addressing the matter of appointment of a Fire Chief and Deputy.

Senator George says the Government regards the asbestos claims as an urgent health issue and he has received the immediate permission of the Prime Minister to investigate and remove the offending material.

The Ministry of Planning, the Minister says, has been informed of the urgency of this matter.

Regarding relocation of the Central Fire Station on Jeremie Street, the Home Affairs Minister acknowledged that previous studies had recommended such a move and said it was under consideration as part of the governmentís continuing programme of relocating, rebuilding and renovating fire stations around the country.

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