TTPost uncertain of workers’ vaccination status

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The head office of Trinidad and Tobago Postal Service (TTPOST), Golden Grove Road, Piarco. Photo by Roger Jacob

THE TT Postal Corporation (TTPost) does not have a clear picture of the covid19 vaccination status of its employees. But the company continues to encourage them to be vaccinated and will soon undertake another vaccination drive.

TTPost provided its workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) to help protect them against covid19. Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, TTPost was able to successfully continue its services to members of the public.

TTPost managing director Francis Delpesh made these comments at a virtual meeting of Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Local Authorities, Service Commissions and Statutory Authorities on Wednesday.

In response to questions from committee chairman Dr Varma Deyalsingh, Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian and Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial, Delpesh said TTPost has a total of 906 employees.

“In terms of the number of them that are vaccinated, we may not be able to give that information, because the employees are not willing to give that information.”

He said they are being encouraged by the Postal Workers Union (PWU) not to do so, on the ground that people’s medical history is private information.

TTPost has been offering services for its workers to be vaccinated.

“We can say how many people utilised our services. We had the number of people who had been vaccinated through TTPost.”

While this does not give a total pictures of employees’ vaccination status, Delpesh also said, “Some people like myself went ahead before it was available to the employees, and got vaccinated.

“I can tell you that…306 employees used our services.” As a result, he said, the corporation was “just above the 50 per cent threshhold.”

This is why, Delpesh continued, TTPost will soon launch another round of covid19 vaccination services for employees.

He said TTPost’s management is fully vaccinated.

“Charity begins at home.”

Deyalsingh praised TTPost for encouraging its workers to get vaccinated.

TTPost is developing contingency plans ahead of the mid-January deadline the Prime Minister gave last month for public-sector workers to get vaccinated. At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s on December 18, 2021, Dr Rowley said those who choose not to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons will be furoloughed.

Delpesh said the company’s human resource (HR) and industrial relations (IR) departments are developing contingency plans, should any unvaccinated TTPost employees be furloughed.

“The stage we are at right now is that on short notice the HR/IR officials…I know they started to meet. We expect that before the end of the week…(contingency plans) will flow to the desk of the managing director and through him the HR committee and ultimately the board.”

Apart from the issue of vaccination, Delpesh said the PWU has worked well with TTPost’s management to ensure the company continues to serve the public during the pandemic.

“We did not have anything to argue about.

He cited the provision of PPE, the distribution of new mailbags and the ongoing phased distribution of new uniforms to employees as examples.

Morris-Julian said, “That is very refreshing to hear.”

While some of its branches closed last June when covid19 protocols were breached, Delpesh said there has been no repeat of this to date.

While company productivity did decline owing to staff rotations and staggered working hours during the pandemic, Delpesh said TTPost is an essential service and has continued to provide all of its services to the public.