OWTU responds to T&TEC over mandatory vaccination stance.

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The Executive Vice-President of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union(OWTU), Reesa Jodha is waiting for a meeting with the management at the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission(T&TEC) before the end of the week over the Commission’s stance on mandatory vaccination for a certain section of workers.

The new development comes after a memorandum from the Commission had been sent out to all heads of departments on October 18 and even made its way circulating on social media pages yesterday. The memo advised managers that, “With immediate effect, all renewals and extensions for temporary employees are subject to proof of Covid-19 vaccination status.” It went on to state, “This includes the employee receiving at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine upon renewal of his/her contract.”

According to the memo, for employees who are unable to undergo vaccination because of medical reasons, “The relevant doctor’s report and supporting information should be provided prior to renewal or extension.”

In speaking to the OWTU Executive Vice-President, she said the union was aware of the memo since it had come to their attention yesterday. She noted upon seeing it, “Immediately, the union would have called on the Commission to retract that memo and to sit and have discussions with the union because there was absolutely no discussion with the union.” Jodha said that in light of the OWTU’s involvement, the Commission’s acting Chief Human Resource Officer had given the commitment that the union would first be consulted and their concerns addressed via a meeting. She said, “That meeting has not been scheduled as yet but I am hoping that by the end of the day it is.”

Jodha went on to explain that the temporary workers who the memo targeted had been employed with T&TEC for several years and the approach by the Commission was unjustifiable despite the workers’ temporary status.

She told PSA Media that the OWTU’s position on vaccination has been clear: “The union is not opposed to vaccination, but there is a stance as it pertains to the enforcement of mandatory vaccination.”