DPSU still concerned over firefighters’ living conditions

Letang wants more priority given to the living conditions of firefighters
Letang wants more priority given to the living conditions of firefighters

General Secretary of the Public Service Union (DPSU), Thomas Letang, has once again expressed dissatisfaction in the manner in which officials are handling the living conditions of fire officers around the island.

In October 2013, Letang told Dominica News Online that fire officers in Portsmouth were unable to sleep at the fire station because of rat infestation. He also highlighted other issues plaguing the fire service such as the lack of proper apparatus and proper transportation.

According to Letang little has been done to improve the situation and the matter is still not being treated as a priority.

“Again we are not satisfied that the issues have been receiving the level of attention that they deserve,” he told DNO on Friday. “So what we have done is about two weeks ago we wrote to the Minister responsible for National Security, bringing to his attention officially what the issues are and asking or requesting a meeting with him to discuss the matter because we are not convinced that priority is being given.”

Letang noted that the DPSU is still awaiting a response from the Minister.

He added that if nothing is done then the necessary action will be taken to deal with the matter.

“Presently, fire officers are wearing some black ribbons as a form of expression of their dissatisfaction … again it seems that many people are not listening but as we have always said we are a union that exercise a lot of patience, so that when the time comes for us to take action, we cannot be accused of being unfair,” he stated.

In the meantime, Letang also revealed that the DPSU hopes to bring answers to employees of the Public Works Corporation (PWC) following a meeting scheduled next week among members of the board.

According to Letang, employees of the PWC are quickly becoming agitated once more since issues which were raised by them are not being dealt with expeditiously.

“The Public Works meeting is long overdue … it is three weeks overdue to be exact, and we have been trying to get to management for that meeting,” he stated. “I just spoke to the chairman and I explained to him that the meeting is extremely important and that the employees are beginning to be agitated once more and he has assured me that he will be having a meeting next week with his board and will follow up with us to set an exact date for a meeting.”

Employees of the PWC have complained of a number of issues which have not been resolved over the years. These include non-payment of insurance contributions, allowances owed to employees and the future of the PWC, according to Letang.

“We do not want it to be said that we are back in the same situation where promises are being made and meetings are not being held so I really want to impress on everyone that it is important that we have this meeting,” he said. “The employees and the Union are treating that matter very seriously and we want these matters resolved.”

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11 Comments

  1. solidarity
    March 8, 2014

    Fire officers in Grandbay and Portsmouth Alss, you all have been very patient. The police get new police station in Grandbay at least a little renovation would ease the deplorable conditions. I hope the officers are prepared to stand together with the union. The Union can only be effective if the people who are affected stand together. Letang keep up the good work, you and you executive is not the union, let people stnad up and fight for their rights.

  2. sf
    March 7, 2014

    Mr. Letang u cannot do it on your own, those affected should also stand together and stand behind you to get results and i am speaking of the firefighters. The employees of pwc recently took a stand together and received some sort of attention, We hear nothing of the firefighters its like they’re under the radar, they need to let their concerns be heard and seen get out of their hiding places if they want to achieve something

  3. side eyes
    March 7, 2014

    The firefighters are not alone… What Mr. Letang ever said about Nurse’s living condition and even the primary healthcare in Dominica??? “Just ask”

  4. Jon Carson
    March 7, 2014

    As a former civil servant, if the allegations are indeed true, this is unacceptable and the Government can do better than that I would hope. Come let’s see some action on this or else perhaps Thomas Letang may go back to the good ole days of CSA and former Secretary General now turned President of the Commonwealth of Dominica, His Excellency Charles Savarin.

    I don’t think that we want to regress back to those days of these glorious union strikes and unrest in the country. I have more confidence in you than that Mr. Prime Minister, so my recommendation to you is, to issue a directive to both your Ministers of National Security and Health to not only look into this but take action and do something within a reasonable time frame. Take care of the employees who have the dangerous job and responsibilities to protect, serve, fight and suppress fires, and administer medical or first responder aid/services to us the citizens of the country. Let’s do better!

    God bless.

  5. let justice live
    March 7, 2014

    Thomas Letang knows that election is around the conner so he start his political milage to get to the government so as to put those blue in but this will not work. it did not work in the past it will not work now tell letang stop using public workers to campaign for UWP

    • Helas!
      March 8, 2014

      small minded people cannot see big things , it is no wonder Dominica is so trapped.

      Stop supporting Party and serve your country!!!!!!

      I will bet you have no info about the subject or very little, yet you are attacking a better citizen than yourself.

      He is giving facts , what is your specialty ? Rumour or Maypuis?

      but I guess you will get a handout for showing loyal support.

  6. Trevor Fabien
    March 7, 2014

    According to all matters concerning any problems Thomas Letang(TT) you must contact the man with the country’s purse or maybe I should say waist bag :-D .

    The reason why I give such advise is, if there is a financial matter, a legal matter, an employment matter, an educational matter, a tourism matter the person who answers or attempts to answer it the PM.

    So maybe you need to have a word with him because every time there is someone responding to a problem in any ministry it is the Prime Minister who answers.

    Just imagine you are a general manager of a company and below you are ten different managers but instead of managing them and the company you are doing their work. This means that they are obsolete and you are not doing your job. So the company would be run as a going concern and eventually be liquidated. Its a nightmare situation which has come home to roost to many companies like Lehman Brothers and GM Motors.

    So before that happens we probably need to change the managerial team and only then you Mr Letang might find answers and resolution to the hard working civil servants and all the other Dominicans that you represent.

    So ask the PM, he seems to be the only one who knows what’s going on, the rest are mutes,ha ha.
    Best of luck with your struggle for our civil servants

    • Simply the Truth
      March 8, 2014

      Generally they do not go directly (or should not) to the PM. They should go to the department head who handles finances for this section. Then the head of this department consults the PM and discusses it with him. If it is important and feasible it will be agreed upon and established.
      In this case the firefighters living conditions should be repaired immediately for good reasons, housing them under one roof and providing them with a healthy and comfortable accommodation. Should a fire occur they could quickly respond to it. Providing this accommodation is of vital importance.

  7. ook rain
    March 7, 2014

    Thomas…it would be better to just shut it instead of brazenly exposing your incompetence to the world. Take action nuh?.. I feel sorry for you when “skitter” finally goes. :cry: :cry: :cry:

    • Simply the Truth
      March 8, 2014

      Is he not the Union Boss? Why are you calling him incompetent and advising him to take action? He must follow protocol. He must first go to the bursar who can give the authorization for these concerns. Would it not be the Finance Minister? I hope the government has money to especially repair the firefighters’ accommodations as soon as possible.

  8. warrington
    March 7, 2014

    man concentrate on them firefighters and leave pwc alone. can’t you see labour wants to be done with pwc for them to build their 5 star hotel.

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