President general of the All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union Nirvan Maharaj.
The All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union (ATGWTU) is one of the latest trade unions to oppose mandatory vaccinations for employees of state-owned companies.
The call comes the day after president general of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) Ancel Roget urged unvaccinated workers to report to work as normal on January 17.
The government is introducing a policy of having workers present proof of vaccination to create a “quasi safe zone” where employees and patrons are vaccinated.
In the release, attorney and present general Nirvan Maharaj questioned the government’s motives for establishing the safe zone in the public sector, whether these safe zones would be an obstacle to unvaccinated patrons’ accessing services and the procedure behind the introduction of these safe zones without union consultation.
Maharaj also suggested that government rely on increasing public awareness or financially reimburse people if they experienced negative effects after taking the vaccine, to increase vaccine uptake.
“The government should instead build the public’s trust by giving an undertaking to accept liability, financial and otherwise, for any adverse effects on individuals taking the vaccine, for example, private medical bills, loans and outstanding debts in the event of breadwinners of families being negatively affected.
“This could certainly build confidence and give assurances to individuals, rather than forcing vaccines on people.”
Maharaj added that taking a vaccine should be left to individual choice and claimed a fully vaccinated person was just as capable of contracting and spreading the virus if they were not careful.