Fire Service labour dispute declared
A labour dispute in the island’s fire service believed to be over vehicle breakdowns and equipment shortages has been referred to a labour relations tribunal for resolution.
According to a notice in the Official Gazette, Kim Wilson, the acting Minister of Economy and Labour, has declared this a dispute between the Bermuda Fire Service and the Bermuda Fire Service Association. She referred the matter to the Employment and Labour Relations Tribunal.
The notice warned that any lockout, strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike would be unlawful and any person who takes part in, incites or in any way encourages, persuades or influences any person to take part in such shall be liable to a civil penalty.
A spokesman for the Bermuda Fire Service Association declined to comment on the dispute yesterday.
However it is understood the dispute is related to the same issues that previously sparked a labour dispute between the bodies last December.
Last year a source close to the fire service told The Royal Gazette that firefighters were working with expired equipment, broken vehicles and mental burnout.
The source added: “A dangerously ageing fleet of vehicles has seen numerous instances of breakdowns in the middle of emergency responses and a lack of equipment to outfit all vehicles adequately results in officers having to change equipment from one vehicle to the next, hoping that another emergency doesn't manifest during the time-consuming process.”
Since then, the FSA has said that the Covid-19 pandemic had worsened staff shortages and forced the temporary close of fire stations due to a lack of manpower.
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