The St Vincent Grenadines Public Service Union (PSU) and the St Vincent Grenadines Teacher’s Union (SVGTU) issue a joint response to the Government’s vaccine mandate and subsequent Subsidiary Rules and Order 2021 No 28 and came into effect November 19th 2021. This initiative stipulates that “frontline workers outline in the rules and orders must be vaccinated; failure to comply resulted in the dismissal of public servants,
As trade unions, we are cognizant that COVID-19 has become a public health threat, and we are mindful of the global attempt for mass vaccination to get back to normalcy. However, we find that the Government’s attempt to assassinate the rights of public servants is unreasonable, impractical, and arbitrary. Moreover, as Trade Unions, we must address members’ concerns, and we stand resolute in doing so.
To have the SR&O repealed, the unions wrote the Prime Minster and copied the letter to all Government Minster. Moreover, we referred to the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend the 2022 budget when eight (8) vaccinated Government Ministers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The clearly shows that the Government’s mandate is illogical and disproportionate and cannot guarantee a haven for public bodies. Therefore, thepurpose of the Statutory Rules and Order and the Government’s conviction that a vaccination mandate was critical to creating a safe workplace is not substantial. Furthermore, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control declared that vaccinated persons are not immune to the Corona Virus. Additionally, among the eight hundred plus active cases of Covid-19 are dozens of vaccinated public servants who contracted and transmitted the virus at their workplace. Yet, the Government was adamant in implementing its mandatory vaccine policy.
The Public Service Union (PSU) and the SVG Teachers Union (SVGTU) maintain that the establishment immunization program should be voluntary. Based on the evidence, we believethat robust, frequent testing is the best way to create a safe workplace for public bodies. We are very concerned that many “frontline workers” who made significant contributions to the nation-building are now on the bread line with no means to support their families and have lost all their pension benefits. This action, in our view, represents a historical wrong against public servants by your Government.
In 2005, the Government proclaimed their love for “Public Servants, Teachers, Nurses and Police Officers and referred to their voluntary self-sacrifice and their willingness to accept a partial salary freeze for one year. We share a similar sentiment that the Government’s “bedrock foundation” should not be shaken when difficult times arise. With these thoughts in mind, we urged the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to correct this historic wrong by repealing SR&O 2021 No: 28 and reinstating all dismissed public servants with full benefits.