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JTUM leader Ancel Roget.

The Joint Trade Union Movement delivered a letter to Attorney General Faris-Al-Rawi today asking for clarification in matters relating to the government’s vaccine policy for public servants. According to a press release from JTUM, comments made by the attorney general during a press conference following a meeting with them “were totally inconsistent with their understanding of the meeting.”

The following is a press release from JTUM:

I am writing to follow-up on our meeting held on Wednesday 22 December, 2021. At that meeting you committed to get back to JTUM in your words “very soon”. However, we took careful note that you held a press conference instead, where you articulated your official response and certain positions which were totally inconsistent with our understanding of the meeting. Respectfully, it is to be noted that this does not auger well for improving already extremely low levels of trust and confidence in the process led by your good self or the desired speedy resolution. However, we still await a date and time for the follow up meeting

JTUM is very aware of the urgency of this crisis situation which is why it is critical for us to come to a resolution in the quickest possible time. Indeed, we can ill afford any mistakes on such a crucial matter. 

As we stated at the meeting, that because of the urgency of finding solutions it would be prudent for you to withdraw the deadline date of 15 January, 2022 to facilitate sincere and meaningful discussions. It is now imperative that you instruct the various state enterprises to immediately begin discussions to arrive at solutions and agreements with the various RMUs to address this crisis.

Honourable Attorney General, we are again asking, why was there no implementation of the IRAC recommendations on Vaccination workplace policy which was the outcome of a tripartite process? Furthermore, why was the committee not recalled if there were challenges with its recommendations?

In addition to those unanswered questions, we also wish to ask the following: –

1. Is the government mandatory vaccine policy a requirement for international funding? If so, is the conditionality to downsize related to that demand?

2. Is the government carrying out an IMF/World Bank conditionality to downsize the public sector workforce?

3. What percentage of the public service are unvaccinated?

4. Would all the groceries shopping malls and business places where public servants, workers and the general public shop; would those places be also mandated to become safe zones?

5. Would safe zones also be included for schools, prisons and landfills?

6. Who will be performing the work when the government removes all these public sector workers and other workers from their jobs?

7. What is the daily total death rate in Trinidad and Tobago? Of that number how many are non-Covid-19 related?

8. Is the arbitrary deadline date of January 15, 2021 linked to a January 2022 vaccines expiration date of? What percentage of vaccines are meant to expire by February 2022? Are workers being forced to take the vaccine because of these expiration dates?

We wish to restate our commitment to the national effort to end the spread of COVID-19 in the quickest possible time. We also wish to restate that meaningful engagement with stakeholders with the objective of reaching a consensus is the better way forward and is much more productive as opposed to mandatory/forced vaccination which will lead to workers being unilaterally removed from their jobs.

We therefore eagerly anticipate an urgent response.