Lifeguards' sick calls close Sha Tin swimming centre

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 September, 2005, 12:00am

Six lifeguards at a public swimming pool centre in Sha Tin may face disciplinary action after failing to report for duty on Tuesday.

The three pools at the Sha Tin Jockey Club facility were closed for the morning session after the lifeguards reported sick.

Normal services resumed in the afternoon after the Leisure and Cultural Services Department assigned other lifeguards to the pools.

The department said five of the absentees reported for duty yesterday, and the pool reopened as usual at 6.30am. It did not say if the lifeguards had been warned over their absence when they arrived for work yesterday.

'When they called us, they said they were taking sick leave. Hence, we would follow the civil service regulations and deal with it according to normal procedures,' a department spokeswoman said.

'This means that if they take sick leave, they have to check whether they need to produce a sick note in compliance with the regulations.'

According the guidelines, failure to produce a doctor's certificate could result in disciplinary action for misconduct.

The actual reason for the mass sick call remained unclear but it was reported that the pool has been short-staffed.

Relations between the lifeguards and the government have deteriorated over the summer, sparked by the department's refusal to halt a plan to outsource management of new pool facilities.

The lifeguards' union has staged two strikes despite the department's threat to cut the salaries of those who did not report for work.

The union said it was not aware of the Sha Tin closure but warned of similar actions as the lifeguards grow more frustrated with their plight.