CSA concerned about workplace safety amid rise in COVID-19 cases

LOOP News, St. Lucia – The St. Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) says it has been made aware that some managers in the Public Service have instructed their members of staff to end all of the alternative working arrangements including rotation and remote work and return to normal operations.

After attempting to engage with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Public Service, who has overall responsibility for such matters, CSA General Secretary Claude Paul says there appears to be no change to the sudden change of policy.

The CSA, he declared, is obviously very concerned that public sector managers would take such an irresponsible position in the face of the extension of the State of Emergency (SOE), the recent trend of a rise in new COVID-19 cases and the latest pronouncements of the CMO concerning the possibility of a fourth wave of the pandemic.

The CSA reminds its members and the relevant heads of departments of Section 263 of the Labour Act which makes provisions for employees to take action to protect their health and safety.

“According to the Section 263 of the Labour Act of Saint Lucia, an employee may refuse to work or do particular work where the employee has reason to believe that (a) any equipment, machine, device, substance or article the employee is to use or operate presents an imminent and serious danger to the life or health of himself or herself or another worker; or (b)       the physical condition of the workplace or the part in which the employee works or is to work presents an imminent and serious danger to his or her life, safety or health; until such time as the employee believes that measures have been undertaken by the employer to address the employees concerns,” Paul said.

In the absence of proper arrangements for physical distancing, and other protocols, the CSA says members face the risk of infection, particularly as there are new and more infectious variants within close proximity.

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