Unvaccinated Udecott employee sent on unpaid leave

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Krystal Edwards –

An employee of the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) complains that she was put on unpaid leave by management because she was not vaccinated.

Employee Krystal Edwards told Newsday that there was a requirement for Udecott staff to be vaccinated or provide a result for a PCR test, for which employees should bear the full cost.

The cost of a PCR test is approximately $ 1,400.

“Around 4:30 pm Thursday, manager Burton Hinkson called me at the office after work,” she told Newsday. “He said he was acting on instructions from the head of human resources, Cavelle Joseph, who requested that I be put on unpaid leave after using my vacation, which is one week.

“He said that I would not be allowed to enter the premises because I was not vaccinated and I did not produce a PCR test to officials. I asked if I could receive some sort of correspondence by e-mail indicating that, and they refused.

A video shared with Newsday showed Edwards approaching Udecott’s office in Port of Spain on Friday, the day after he was told not to return to work.

Edwards approached the security guards, while recording on his cell phone. and asked her if she was allowed to enter the building.

Security officials apparently contacted Director Burton Hinkson, who told security if she had the PCR test or proof of vaccination she could be allowed into the premises, but otherwise she was not allowed .

Newsday contacted Udecott President Noel Garcia in Tobago, who said he was absent and asked CEO Tamacia Charles-Phillips questions.

When his office was contacted, Newsday learned that all questions should be emailed. Newsday forwarded questions to Udecott through its corporate communications department, but received no response.

Calls and a Whatsapp message on the CEO’s phone went unanswered.

Asked Saturday about the employee’s complaint about Udecott, Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Régis said she had no position on the issue.

Robinson-Regis this week chaired a meeting with several stakeholders from the public and private sectors on safe zones and worker immunizations.

At the opening of the employment tribunal’s mandate on September 17, President Deborah Thomas-Felix said employers cannot unilaterally introduce mandatory workplace covid19 vaccination policies as a new requirement. employment without consultation.

Thomas-Felix said that while TT’s laws do not directly address covid19 vaccinations as a condition of employment, nor have there been express provisions in the industrial relations law, new policies, terms and conditions cannot be imposed unilaterally without dialogue between employer and employee, or the union recognized through the collective bargaining process.

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