Employer Strikes Employee Again!

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An employee that has worked in an ununionized work environment for several years has been challenged by his employers to take the Covid-19 vaccine or wait until they find an alternative place to reassign him.

The Servus Limited employee in stating his case anonymously with PSA media said he received a letter from the company stating that he will be laid off temporarily. This was confirmed in a letter which he produced bearing the company’s logo and signature of the Chief Executive Officer, Edward Kacal. 

The employee who has worked at Servus Limited for the past 11 years told PSA media that he was told by his managers that the client that he had worked with the last three years, now required that only vaccinated employees of Servus Limited enter the compound of their corporation. This was also verified by an email which the employee provided. In it, the Unit Trust Corporation(UTC) Facilities Manager, Kevin Knights on October 7 forwarded the email to a June Winston. The email which was entitled, “Contractual Manual” stated: “I would like to advise that Servus personnel who are unvaccinated should not report to any of the corporations’ locations until such time that I have provided you with further guidance. 

However, the worker noted that he provided technical services to UTC maintaining their air-conditioning units and plumbing needs and other building maintenance, and as he stated, that was throughout the pandemic. He pointed out though that through the initial letter that was signed by CEO Kacal the company said it was willing to find alternative work reassignment for all those affected. 

The statement he pointed to reads: “To ensure a safe working environment, we are being instructed by some clients for full compliance of Servus employees and contractors in being vaccinated. We also have a duty of care to our employees to provide a safe working environment. Having said this, if a client provides a mandate for our employees assigned to their sites to be vaccinated or do regular PCR test, then we have no choice but to comply, as we will be at a risk of losing work and contracts and ultimately employment for our people. “

“Consequently, we will treat with this on a site-by-site basis. Any affected employees will be offered a relocation if vacancy exists. Should there be a situation whereby there is no alternative reassignment opportunity, the employee must then complete the regular PCR test/s or be temporarily laid off without pay pending either becoming vaccinated or an availability of a space for reassignment.”

It continues: “At this time, there is no current vacancy to which you can be reassigned and as such, you will be temporarily laid off from October 13, 2021 to December 31, 2021, or until the client’s requirement changes, or until your vaccination status changes. 

On the other hand, upon reading the letter from the CEO of Severus, the paragraph above referenced the company’s internal memo that it said was circulated on September 20th, 2021.” It reads: “The company continues to support the government of Trinidad and Tobago in protecting the nation and its citizens from future widespread outbreaks and loss due to the current pandemic. We also held several discussions and town halls with employees surrounding the vaccines and provided much guidance and support when needed two questions asked on the uncertainty of the vaccines.”

Nevertheless, the employee noted that although in the past workers were threatened to lose their jobs if they attempted to bring a union into the work environment, he noted that during the pandemic he had listened Public Services Association(PSA), President, Watson Duke speak on the issue of employers implementing mandatory vaccination policies at the workplace and decided he needed to visit the PSA offices. 

President Duke, along with the Industrial Court’s President, Deborah Thomas Felix has both said on multiple occasions that employers were breaching the laws by implementing mandatory vaccination policies at the workplace.