Unvaccinated Udecott employee sent on no-pay leave

Krystal Edwards  -
Krystal Edwards -

An employee of the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) is complaining that she was put on no-pay leave by management, because she has not been vaccinated.

The employee, Krystal Edwards, told Newsday that it was made a requirement that staff of Udecott be vaccinated or provide a result for a PCR test, for which the employees would have to incur the full cost.

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

“On Thursday at about 4.30 pm the manager Burton Hinkson called me into the office after work,” she told Newsday. “He said he was acting on instructions of the HR manager Cavelle Joseph, who instructed that I be put on no-pay leave after I utilised my vacation time, which is one week.

“He said I would not be allowed back on the premises because I was not vaccinated and I did not produce a PCR test to the managers. I asked if I could be e-mailed some kind of correspondence indicating this, and they refused.”

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

Edwards went up to the security officers, while recording on her cell phone. and asked if she was allowed into the building.

Security guards apparently contacted manager Burton Hinkson, who told security that if she had the PCR test or proof of vaccination she could be allowed onto the premises, but if not, she was not allowed.

Newsday contacted Udecott chairman Noel Garcia in Tobago, who said he was out of office and directed questions to CEO Tamacia Charles-Phillips.

When her office was contacted, Newsday was told all questions should be sent by e-mail. Newsday forwarded questions to Udecott through its corporate communications department but received no answers.

Calls and a Whatsapp message to the CEO's phone went unanswered.

Asked on Saturday, about the employee's complaint about Udecott, Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis said she had no position on the matter.

Robinson-Regis earlier this week chaired a meeting with several stakeholders in the public and private sectors on safe zones and vaccination of workers.

At the opening of the Industrial Court's law term on September 17, president Deborah Thomas-Felix said employers cannot unilaterally introduce mandatory covid19 vaccination policies in the workplace as a new term of employment without consultation.

Thomas-Felix said while TT's laws do not directly address covid19 vaccinations as a condition of employment, nor was there any express provisions in the Industrial Relations Act, new policies, terms and conditions cannot be unilaterally imposed without dialogue between the employer and employee, or the recognised trade union through the collective bargaining process.


"Unvaccinated Udecott employee sent on no-pay leave"

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