Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis has called a meeting with representatives of government, umbrella trade unions and business organisations to discuss a possible workplace policy regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for Trinidad and Tobago.
Scheduled to take place on Monday September 27 at 3PM, this meeting involves key representatives of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN); the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) and the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC). The umbrella businesses organisations also confirmed are the Employers Consultative Association; the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce; the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Service Industries; Trinidad and Tobago Group of Professional Associations; American Chamber of Commerce of T&T; Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association and the Energy Chamber.
Minister Robinson-Regis states that the primary intention of this meeting is to engage representative stakeholder groups in dialogue, to discover collaborative methods of directly tackling vaccine hesitancy and finding common ground for public safety especially in Trinidad and Tobago’s workforce. Also invited to participate are the Chief Personnel Officer, Dr. Darryl Dindial; the Minister of Health, the Hon. Terrance Deyalsingh; Minister of Trade and Industry, Sen. the Hon. Paula Gopee-Scoon and the Minister of Labour, the Honourable Stephen Mc Clashie.
Although over one million vaccine doses have been administered in Trinidad and Tobago, Minister Robinson-Regis is stressing that having a fully vaccinated workforce presents benefits for both employees and employers. Productivity is enhanced due to reduced sick days, costs for lost days are also reduced and employees in all industries are also able to engage in steadier modes of contribution to their jobs that improve livelihoods, improve health and increased morale due to limited fears of becoming extremely sick from contracting the COVID-19 virus as well as greater certainty of the future.
At the macro scale, the socio-economic benefits of having a fully vaccinated workforce involve better physical as well as mental health and well-being, increased earning capacity and greater opportunities for vaccinated service providers to operate freely within the economy, increased return of vaccinated members to the workforce and being fully vaccinated also facilitates all employees to get back to the business of securely providing for their families.
The Planning and Development Minister also adds that as is customary with this government, a consultative approach is always the best means of building consensus. The severity of this pandemic’s impacts on our health, education system, labour force and general way of life has made this stakeholder meeting with our union and business partners an urgent exercise on Trinidad and Tobago’s road to recovery. The Minister thanks all of the agencies for acting on their civic-mindedness and responding to the government’s call to action.
Minister Robinson-Regis emphasises that the government’s priority remains the health and safety of all citizens and residents in Trinidad and Tobago and the cooperative establishment of a workplace policy cementing this goal will be progressive for all parties.