An urgent meeting to head off any further industrial upheaval within the Barbados Fire Service has been arranged.
Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite has secured a meeting with the executive of the Barbados Fire Service Association and the Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard.
With the essential service hit by largescale sickouts and reports of discontent among fire officers, Brathwaite hopes the talks would address the grievances of officers.
It is illegal for members of the Fire Service to take strike action.
The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Fire Service’s Cheapside, Bridgetown offices.
Barbados TODAY investigations revealed several officers were on certified sick leave this week and this has compromised operations at the country’s five fire stations.
It is also understood that officers are disgruntled about several issues, including complaints that personnel who were on duty in hurricane ravaged Dominica as part of the Urban Search and Rescue team were scheduled to work on the same day they returned to the island without any rest time or de-briefing.
Earlier this week Brathwaite told reporters many of the problems stemmed from a breakdown in communications with several matters being linked.
“For example, I have been advised of one officer taking a truck out for about seven hours and no one knew where he was with the truck. Here is my take, the fire officer who went to Dominica went beyond the call of duty. As a Government, as a people, we should do whatever is required to ensure that their health and safety is at the maximum.
“If it requires some additional time off, I will ensure as Minister that it is done. If they require counselling or anything like that, I will ensure as the Minister that it is done. This is not a difficult matter, this matter should not be contentious at all,” he stated.
Meantime efforts to reach the Fire Chief were unsuccessful and head of the Fire Service Association Corrie Bridgeman declined to comment on the situation.