by Linda Straker
- Some workers employed with SGU for over 20 years
- Deadline is today, 22 October 2021 to inform management of their vaccination status
- Labour Commissioner Cyrus Griffith hosted a conciliation meeting on 20 October 2021
- Will make recommendations in 2 weeks
Workers at St George’s University (SGU) who began protest action in June because of the institution’s mandate to have only fully vaccinated persons employed among its staff and faculty, have until today 22 October 2021 to inform the management of their vaccination status, or else will forfeit their jobs and severance payment.
SGU employs approximately 800 Grenadians. Fewer than 60 of the 450 unionised staff have taken protest action objecting to the mandatory policy of the university. Since 15 June, the workers are off the job and were placed on 3 months leave without pay.
“The SGU Team led by local corporate lawyer, Dickon Mitchell opined that were the workers to not meet the demand by SGU to inform of their decision to be vaccinated or not vaccinated by October 22, 2021, their services will be terminated by January 2022,” said a news release from the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU).
Labour Commissioner Cyrus Griffith hosted a conciliation meeting on 20 October 2021 in an attempt to resolve the dispute between GTAWU and SGU involving the university’s insistence on mandatory vaccination.
The union said that the Labour Commissioner has indicated he will make recommendations in 2 weeks following the meeting. However, the union is of the opinion that it is improper to ask the workers to make a decision by 22 October 2021 without knowing the outcome of the exercise at the Ministry of Labour.
The news release said that the union team led by Senator André Lewis reiterated its position that there must be exemption for breastfeeding mothers and religious beliefs as well as severance payment consistent with the Union Agreement and Employment Act, for workers who have stated they have no interest in being vaccinated.
The union said that SGU management is claiming that workers who refuse to be vaccinated have abandoned their jobs and as a result are not entitled to compensation for their years of service. Some of the workers have been employed with SGU for over 20 years.