As casino reopens Monday, unvaccinated workers in limbo

Head of the First Wave Movement Umar Abdullah and supervisor at Royal Princess Casino Adanna Morgan speak to the media as the casino’s employees protest at South Park Shopping Complex, Toruba, San Fernando.  - ROGER JACOB
Head of the First Wave Movement Umar Abdullah and supervisor at Royal Princess Casino Adanna Morgan speak to the media as the casino’s employees protest at South Park Shopping Complex, Toruba, San Fernando. - ROGER JACOB

Unvaccinated workers at the Royal Princess Casino at South Park, San Fernando, are unsure about their employment status after they claim they were told to stay home next Monday, when the casino reopens.

A group of the unvaccinated workers protested on Friday morning in front of the casino.

A training supervisor for the past six years, Adanna Morgan has often trained the casino’s new workers. But come Monday, Morgan isn’t sure if she’ll have a job herself.

She told Newsday, “They told us they put out an ad in the newspaper to replace us, but you don’t want to give people their holiday money and you don’t want to give us a severance package for the years that we’ve worked with you.

Morgan claims that on September 30 the management told unvaccinated workers only vaccinated workers will be allowed into the casino on Monday.

At that point, the unvaccinated workers were given an ultimatum: get vaccinated or take an indefinite leave of absence.

Additionally, Morgan said no fixed grace period was given for the unvaccinated workers to get vaccinated.

She said these workers are now left in limbo as to their employment status.

She claims they were offered a $500 incentive to be vaccinated, but were told it would be paid six months after their second jab. No explanation was given as to the rationale behind the six-month payout delay.

According to Morgan, the casino employs 113 people, and to her knowledge, an estimated 80 per cent are unvaccinated.

Judica Bonaparte claims the management told her and other unvaccinated workers to speak to the Prime Minister when they asked about their future.

A tearful Bonaparte said, “So I want to ask the Prime Minister when we could get our compensation money, because he (the manager) said to ask you.

“It’s not just the five or ten of us here (in the protest), it have more than this who aren’t vaccinated but they just couldn’t make it today.

"I want someone to give us answers or something."

Even if she chooses to leave, Bonaparte said the casino’s management haven’t said she will receive a severance package.”

While Stacy Matthews is vaccinated, she will not be reporting to work on Monday, in a show of support for her unvaccinated colleagues. A slot supervisor at the casino for more than three years, Matthews disagrees with the management’s position.

Matthews told Newsday, “These staff are not vaccinated. Pay them off let them go their way.

“I am vaccinated because of my kids, but that doesn’t mean because they are unvaccinated you’ll treat them like this. I stand with my co-workers because too much of garbage goes on in this establishment. I not coming back here, because my kids are important.”

Matthews hopes Friday’s protest moves themanagement at least to pay off the unvaccinated staff so they can seek employment elsewhere.

For some workers, the casino’s vaccination position is the final straw in what they see as the poor conditions they’ve worked under for several years.

Morgan told Newsday, “We put up with so much that most people wouldn’t have. I see more than 200 staff come here, work for a week and leave.

“It’s not an easy place to work…you know what it’s like if your child sick and you’re studying to stay home with your child, you can’t stay home.

“Even staff that doesn’t stay home, if they decide to stay home one day because their child sick, is a problem.”

During the casino’s recent closure, the workers said they have received no compensation and some are barely making ends meet.

Morgan said attempts to meet with the casino’s management have been ignored.

Matthews added, “Since the closure, they haven’t called one worker to find out what’s going on.

“When I spoke to the HR last night (Thursday), their concern is that it’ll barely staff and we need all the staff.

“What about the staff when we was home? Nobody called to find out if you’re okay and want a pack of flour or rice.”

Leader of the First Wave Movement Umar Abdullah helped organise Friday’s protest and is calling on the PM to reconsider the “safe zone” policy.

Coming into effect from Monday, the policy mandates businesses such as bars, casinos and restaurants to reopen with only vaccinated staff and customers.

Abdullah pleaded, “These workers are here and they are demanding to work as they always have.

“Mr Prime Minister, I’m calling on you to reverse your position as it relates to this issue of vaxxed and unvaxxed.

“Reverse your position as it relates to (some of) those who’ve not gotten their injection and can’t go to work.”

Newsday was unable to get a comment from the casino’s management on the workers’ claims.


"As casino reopens Monday, unvaccinated workers in limbo"

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