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Trade Union Congress calls for postponement of ‘vaccine mandate’ over lack of consultation

Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2021. 4:33 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Signalling its “disappointment” in being disregarded and not consulted on the Government’s COVID-19 policy, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) has called for a postponement of Friday’s “vaccine mandate” rollout, which starts with Government and statutory board buildings in order to meet with labour; and two, to immediately set dates for such meetings in order to hear proposals on public health concerns and policy recommendations from internal Labour consultations.

The Congress says no input has been sought from any labour representative under its umbrella, and adds that while it recognizes the right of the government to develop reasonable measures to protect public health, it should do so with workers’ input, “including healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses, epidemiologists, and laboratory technologists.”

Attorney General Magali Marin Young, describing the new policy, says the Minister of Health Michel Chebat, after floating an initial proposal to ban unvaccinated persons from all buildings public and private, stepped back after consultation with unnamed health professionals.

The Congress says that if the Government is to preach “shared sacrifice as the mantra for building Belize back better”, then it ought to have mutual respect for development partners including labour in this process. It says a “rigid approach” to policymaking will not lead to all of us winning, but meaningful collaboration and necessary consultation mean we all work together and win together.

With a near-majority of Belizeans partially vaccinated and more than half of that fully vaccinated, however, the Government may more cards to play.

 

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