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Union warns CVM after vaccine ultimatum

Published:Thursday | September 9, 2021 | 12:11 AM

CVM TV is on a collision course with the National Workers Union (NWU), one of the trade unions representing contract and full-time employers, which has threatened to take industrial action if the television station does not withdraw a controversial memo issued on Monday.

The ultimatum advised that as of Monday, September 20, “anyone who is unvaccinated will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test at their expense each Monday to HR ... .

“There will be no exceptions unless a certified medical report is provided to HR, exempting the person to due to medical conditions,” the missive read.

The NWU said it was caught off guard by the diktat, which it described as unethical and illegal. It has given a September 10 deadline for the order to be retracted.

“In crafting this policy, in a unionised environment, management did not consult with the union or the workers and simply made a unilateral decision which affects everyone, a breach of the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act,” the NWU said.

The union further argued that the edict discriminated against unvaccinated workers who are the only ones required to be subjected to testing. The NWU argued that the decision ran contrary to science because both both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers could catch and spread the virus.

The letter, which has been copied to the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, over the signature of General Secretary Granville Valentine, warns CVM TV that it is on shaky legal ground.

“We have instructed our members and workers, in general, that as it regards CVM’s edict, they are not obligated to comply with any such instruction as it is unreasonable, unfair, and unjust and has no place in the industrial relations policy of the Government of Jamaica at his time,” he said.