The United Firefighters Union of Puerto Rico (Sbupr) urged Governor Pedro Pierluisi to put into effect Law 181, approved in 2019, which provides for a salary increase for these workers or to seek an alternative source for the increase of $ 125 per month .
The president of Sbupr, José Tirado, explained that although the 2020 Fiscal Plan contemplated the increase to firefighters, it was conditioned to a 3% charge that was applied to fire insurers.
He indicated that the government should have implemented this increase since March 2019, when the statute was approved.
However, the Fiscal Control Board requested information from the Financial Advisory Authority and Fiscal Agency (Aafaf) in order to determine the status of tax collection and the probable total for the fiscal year.
The union leader said that once the government provides the sources to compensate for the increase, it will ensure that the increase goes into effect.
He affirmed that since the government of Puerto Rico has not notified the Fiscal Board if it put the tax into effect and how much it has collected, federal judge Laura Taylor Swain determined that it cannot be passed.
“We are calling on Governor Pierluisi to make a concrete commitment to the troops of the first line of protection and defense, as was done with the colleagues of the Puerto Rico Police when identifying $ 72 million annually to give him an increase of $ 600 per month,” he said. .
Meanwhile, the union’s lawyer and treasurer, Eduardo Ramos, indicated that he requested a meeting with the director of the Aafaf, Omar Marrero, and the secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP), Alexis Torres. They will also seek to meet with senators and representatives and with the Insurance Commissioner, Mariano Mier Romeu.
“We are in the midst of a global health crisis and the Puerto Rico Fire Department is part of the human capital that assists in emergencies. Our call to the governor is to urgently address this issue of wage justice. In the past few days, we requested a meeting with the chief executive to deepen on this issue ”, highlighted Tirado.
He specified that in Puerto Rico there are 1,717 firefighting positions, 450 vacancies and 98 stations throughout the Island.
Regarding the pandemic, he pointed out that fire stations are closed every week due to Covid-19 infections.
“Fire stations are closed almost every week. Two weeks ago we had closed Ponce, El Tuque, Yauco, closed, San Sebastián closed, Aguada closed. Every month we have several stations closed by Covid and we have had more than 80 firefighters affected by Covid. We have a firefighter for each station doing the work of three people. Right now, our vice president of the union is infected and that is a risk that we all have, because we are facing Puerto Rico and we go where they call us and we cannot say no, “he said.
THE SPOKESMAN requested a reaction from La Fortaleza and waits for it.