THE Opposition UNC on Wednesday called upon public servants to display civil disobedience against anyone who tries to force them to be vaccinated against covid19 or disclose their vaccination status.
The UNC made this call as it supported the Joint Trade Union Movement’s (JTUM) and the Public Services Association’s (PSA) position that public sector workers should not disclose their covid19 vaccination status to their employers. The Government has said public-sector workers should be vaccinated or they will be furloughed without pay.
Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh, the UNC’s labour spokesman, said, “We call upon the public servants to display a sense of what we would call civil disobedience, because at the end of the day, your medical records are your personal records.”
That, he argued, is the greatest infringement in terms of a person’s civil liberties.
Indarsingh also said, “We want to make it very clear that we stand on the side of public servants and the labour movement in this latest war that the people have to undergo and more so, in this instance, public servants.”
Indarsingh called on teachers, healthcare workers, law enforcement offiers and workers across all state entities “to unify if they are to push back the Government.” He accused the Prime Minister, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh of “poking their fingers in the eyes of public servants.”
Indarsingh reiterated the UNC’s support for vaccination but opposition to mandatory vaccination.
“We are not anti-vaxxers.”
He said of the policy, “We believe it is violation of the citizens’ constitutional rights. The Government is operating under the existing public health regulations, to force public servants to get vaccinated.”
Indarsingh said the Government must engage in moral suasion and community dialogue in order to increase covid19 vaccination. He reiterated the UNC’s claims that Dr Rowley’s announcement last month, that public-sector workers who choose not to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons could be furloughed, is contrary to previous statements by Industrial Court president Deborah Thomas-Felix and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) position on mandatory vaccination.
Last February, Thomas-Felix said an employer cannot alter terms and conditions to make covid19 vaccination mandatory for existing employees.
Last December, the WHO said, “Mandates around vaccination are an absolute last resort and only applicable when all other feasible options to improve vaccination uptake have been exhausted.”
UNC PRO Dr Kirk Meighoo supported Indarsingh’s statements.
“The UNC has always defended the human rights of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.”
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