As early as next week a group of concerned citizens could be challenging any future decisions to force unvaccinated workers to get the jab of pay for COVID-19 tests.
Winston Clarke, a social activist who has organized a petition advocating for Barbadians who do not want the COVID-19 vaccine to be able to refuse it without having to face consequences, informed Barbados TODAY that a draft document which is currently being finalized by attorneys could be presented to the Employment Rights Tribunal for emergency hearing soon.
Clarke said: “We want to present the document next week. Attorneys are looking at it and we are going to go ahead with it. I am not putting up with this. So, we are going to lodge the documentation because it has gone too far. I saw this coming.
“Section (6) of the Employment (Prevention of Discrimination) Act, 2020, states that no employer can force any employee to take a test or any form of medication, in order to commence work or in order for them to continue to work within that environment. No employer can do this and this was enacted last year February by this same Government.
“I have been telling people from every since I can see the writing on the wall that it is going to happen and the only way we can do anything about it, is if we come out in force and show them. There are more of us unvaccinated people than there are vaccinated you know. And there are some people who are vaccinated who only did it because they were forced to or coerced to.”
Last Friday, reports surfaced that some interests in the private sector were reviewing whether it should be mandatory for unvaccinated workers to pay for COVID-19 tests to show that they are cleared to work.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley met with the Social Partnership Tuesday to discuss COVID-19 vaccinations and she later revealed there was consensus on a four-week period for national consultation and public awareness on the matter.
But Clarke, who questioned the relevance of Prime Minister Mottley discussing the issue of the COVID-19 vaccination with the Social Partnership, said all involved in the decision-making process must be mindful that they do not infringe the rights of workers and religious groups. He said people have the right to choose what happens to their bodies.
“There are people that have health issues who cannot take certain medications. There are groups who for religious reasons will not take this vaccine,” Clarke noted.
The Barbados Concerned Citizens group was recently formed and is also a member of the Caribbean Concerned Citizens which is leading the charge on the legal response.
Clarke said the Concerned Citizens group included the Rastafarian Progressive Movement (RPM), the Barbados Muslim Association (BMA), the Nation of Islam, the Roaring Lions and the Anti Vaccination Group.