NATUC: Staying at home without pay inhumane

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(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) The National Trade Union Centre (Natuc) says it intends to take action if Government fails to have proper consultation and come to an agreement regarding the “jab or no job” Covid policy for public sector workers.

The union has not disclosed what form of action it intends to take, but said it would come in early January.

Additionally, Natuc president James Lambert said the federation of unions is willing to meet with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to discuss the matter, but only with its attorneys present.

Lambert did not attend the meeting between the trade union leaders and the AG on Wednesday.

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“As a trade union federation, Natuc is willing to meet with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to discuss ideas and build consensus and mount a united front to reduce the spread of Covid-19,” he stated in an advertisement on Page 26 of today’s Express.

“However, we refuse to be continuously fooled by useless ploys and call for a restoration of the respect for trade unions and the working class of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Therefore, we have determined that our Natuc executive must meet with its legal team for consultation and we reserve the right to have that legal team present at any meetings with the Attorney General or any other minister of Government as it relates to Government policy on vaccinations in the public sector.”

Lambert sought to make it clear Natuc is not opposed to vaccination nor any necessary measures put in place to curb the spread of the ¬virus. However, he said the manner in which the Government is violating workers’ rights is a cause for ¬concern.

“As an employer, the Government must remember that the imposition of new terms and conditions to workers’ employment contracts must be met with consent by the workers and their respective unions.

“Additionally, the deliberate restriction of unvaccinated employees from accessing their place of work and performing their contractual duties is a complete violation of workers’ rights and, by extension, human rights.

“Forcing workers who choose not to take the vaccine on grounds other than medical, to stay at home without pay is discriminatory, and inhumane. This decision would not only adversely affect workers during a time of increased costs of living, but would also adversely affect the well-being of communities and the ability of the Public Service to adequately cater to the needs of the population,” he said.

Calling on the Government to rethink its “dictatorial” position, Lambert said Natuc has a mandate to ensure the rights of workers are restored and maintaine,d and it will do whatever is within its power to protect workers and their families.



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