The Acting Deputy Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Miss Olivia Chan, met with representatives of the Hong Kong & Kowloon Life Guards' Union today (August 3) and held the third meeting on the manpower deployment of lifeguards in swimming pools and beaches.
A consensus was reached between the two parties at the meeting and the union decided to call off the strike planned for the Sport For All Day to be held on August 5. Following is the translation of the opening remarks given by Miss Chan during the meet-the-media session after the meeting:
We have just held the third meeting with representatives of the Hong Kong & Kowloon Life Guards' Union to further exchange views on the manpower deployment of lifeguards in swimming pools and beaches. With concerted efforts and candid communication, both sides have finally reached a consensus.
We are very pleased that the union has considered the importance of the overall situation and decided to call off the strike on the Sport For All Day.
The common objective of the department and the union is to provide services of the highest quality to members of the public. Under this overarching principle, both sides agreed that there is some room for adjustment in the manpower of lifeguards having regard to the operational needs of individual pools and beaches.
The department preliminarily undertakes to try its best to allocate resources to increase by 50 the seasonal lifeguards in individual large pools with high usage rates and beaches with relatively small lifeguard establishment, so as to reinforce the lifesaving service and alleviate the working pressure of colleagues.
Moreover, the department will kick-start a new round of comprehensive review at the earliest possible time on the long-term manpower requirements of swimming pools and beaches. Union representatives will be invited to take part in the review and provide their comments.
I have to stress that the consensus with the union was not reached under the threat of a strike. In fact, we have formulated a series of contingency measures and we are fully prepared to close part of the swimming facilities on August 5 if there are insufficient lifeguards on duty in order to safeguard swimmers' safety.
Notwithstanding this, the department welcomes the union's decision to call off the strike. We hope all lifeguard colleagues can continue to stand steadfast in their duties and demonstrate their team spirit to provide quality service to members of the public with their utmost professionalism. Meanwhile, we hope members of the public will also fully enjoy our free facilities and activities on the Sport For All Day on August 5, including the swimming pool services.
Ends/Friday, August 3, 2012