1000 plus persons have reportedly died from the Covid-19 virus to date in Trinidad and Tobago. With what seems to be no end in sight, employees are fearfully hesitant to return to their places of work.
Members of the Public Services Association (PSA) throughout Trinidad and Tobago have complained that within recent weeks, employers would have been unofficially rostering more than a fifty percent work team.
Many members have shared their concerns with the PSA, as they feel threatened with working in such close proximity to their colleagues, especially with new reports of a soon approaching Covid-19 Delta variant.
Employees at the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Head Office are wary, as they have had several Covid-19 outbreaks. They have said that their management is not concerned about workers but more concerned about getting work done. The last Covid-19 outbreak at the Head Office was in the HR Department, where five persons tested positive and half of the staff was quarantined.
Members of staff at Ministry of Planning and Development have also expressed their dissatisfaction that many junior staff with little to no work to do, have to report to work. Employees continue to be fearful as they state that we are still in a pandemic with hundreds of new positive Covid-19 cases daily.
PSA’s Second Vice President, Avinash Maharajh, stated that employers must be aware that the State Of Emergency (SOE) is still in effect and the COVID-19 virus is still rampant in the country. He said that taking precautionary measures such as frequent hand washing, wearing masks and social distancing still remains the most effective way to combat the virus. He urged employers to act responsibly and roster staff to perform only essential work in accordance to what the Prime Minister dictates.
“When employers act irresponsibly and force workers to report for duty just for the sake of reporting for duty with no essential work to do, it places all the workers at risk. One COVID-19 case and the entire operations will be forced to shut down, even the essential services in such an instance. Such irresponsible behavior by the employer can also result in a spike of cases and further fuel more lockdown measures. The PSA insists that employers demonstrate more prudence in their approach to rostering staff by only bringing out workers that is necessary; to perform critical tasks and ensure that there is proper social distancing.” Said SVP Maharajh.