An outspoken member of the Rastafarian community is suggesting that any unvaccinated private sector worker who is forced by their employer to take a COVID-19 test should take the matter to court for justice.
Public Relations Officer of the Rastafari Progressive Movements (PRM) Paul Ras Simba Akoma Rock is predicting that while the issue of unvaccinated private sector workers having to foot the bill for their own COVID-19 tests will be closely examined during a meeting of the Social Partnership scheduled for next week, the law courts is going to be flooded with cases of workers taking their bosses to court.
Ras Simba, who said he has been monitoring the heated debate on the development which came to light on Friday, said that the employer who needs the worker’s skill to get the job done should be required to pay for the employee to have the test done.
He said: “If I am an electrician and I work for the Light & Power and there is an emergency in Christ Church but I don’t have a car and I live in St Lucy, they are going to pay for a taxi or somebody to come for me to come and do that work? You feel they are going to tell me that I have to pay for my own taxi to come to do their work?
“To me, this goes back to a colonial mindset of the relationship between an employer and an employee. An employee is not a slave, it is a service. And we have to come to the realization that without the employee there is no employer. So, the problem is that because we have so many people right now looking for jobs, it empowers the employer to feel like they are indispensable. But you would see that if there is a job that there are not many candidates to fulfil that position, how valuable that employee becomes”.
During a press conference at Ilaro Court on Friday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the nation that workers having to pay for their own COVID-19 tests may be the price they will have to pay for refusing the free vaccine being made available to them. Mottley said workers would not be forced to take the vaccine, but noted that employers may have to take precautions to ensure the work environment remains safe for all workers.
Meanwhile, Ras Simba said that he is hoping employees bombard the courts with matters relating to the COVID-19 vaccine and having to pay for the COVID-19 test if that becomes mandatory.
Ras Simba said: “Put pressure on the court. Put pressure on the Government. As long as we sit down and take and allow others to direct the narrative we are not going to get very far”.
The Public Relations Officer said that the time has come for persons and groups that are strongly against the COVID-19 vaccine to unite and do what is legally possible to prevent Government or private sector employers from forcing workers to take the vaccine in the future or having to pay for their own PCR test. (AH)