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Republic Bank ends mandatory tests for unvaccinated workers

REPUBLIC Bank Ltd has terminated its contentious mandatory tests, return-to-work Covid-19 policy for ­unvaccinated workers.

And it has asked the workers’ union, the Banking, Insurance and General Workers’ Union (BIGWU), to withdraw related court matters.

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A letter dated February 14 from the bank’s senior manager group and employee industrial relations department to BIGWU’s vice-president, Jason Brown, pointed to the bank’s decision to terminate the mandatory PCR tests for unvaccinated staff to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, which was implemented on September 6.

The policy was terminated officially last week. The Express yesterday reached out to the bank’s managing director, Nigel Baptiste, via WhatsApp, who confirmed the contents of the letter sent to the union are accurate.

Referring to the court matters BIGWU has filed against the bank over the now-defunct policy, the senior manager group and employee industrial relations department of the bank called on the union to reconsider its decision, and remove the matters from the court at this time.

The letter further suggested that parties engage with a view to amicably resolving the two residual issues—namely, the union’s request to have warning notices rescinded and removed from the personnel files of those, along with the reimbursement of the funds expended by staff who would have paid for PCR tests over the life of the policy. “The bank is prepared to commence these discussions at the earliest convenience of the union. Looking forward to your favourable consideration and necessary action please,” the letter added.

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In his response to the letter, BIGWU’s vice-president Brown stated it’s unfortunate such sentiments could not have prevailed prior to the effecting of a policy which translated into emotional and financial hardship for so many.

Brown said about 250 employees remain unvaccinated.

“The issues created by the bank have now firmly domiciled themselves in the national sphere and therefore some wider consideration has to be paid to not only the damage done to our members, but also to the tens of thousands of workers whose employers have followed the bank and to the assault on the practice of good and proper industrial relations in general,” Brown added.

Republic Bank terminates Covid policy  Trinidad & Tobago Express Newspapers


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