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Photot of Trinidad and Tobago's Industrial Court. (CMC image)

T&T: Payment for laid-off workers

July 30, 2023

CMC – The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), Friday welcomed the decision by the Industrial Court ordering two companies to pay the salaries of six workers dismissed for refusing to be vaccinated against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The judgement really represents a victory, not just for persons, who refused to take the vaccine because that matter is still to be determined in October in terms of the IRO (Industrial Relations Offence), but it represents a victory for the way companies decide that they are going to treat with workers arbitrarily….,” said CWU secretary general, Clyde Elder.

Speaking on a radio programme there, Elder said  the ruling will inform the employers that “there are processes in place to treat with workers and you just can’t do as you please when it comes to their rights and terms and conditions of employment”.

The three-member Industrial Court Thursday also dismissed  the application by Waste Disposals (2023) Ltd and Envirotech Holdings Limited on constitutionality and jurisdiction, ordering that the payments of wages to the workers be continued until the IRO is heard and determined in keeping with the consent order.

It also ruled that the employers and named officials were guilty of contempt.

“The company refused to pay the workers in December and January and we would have had to go to the court and seek a contempt of court order in January 2022. The company gave an undertaking to pay the workers so they paid them at the end of January for December and January.

“But lo and behold for February and March they did not pay them again and we had to return to the court for another contempt of court injunction and this time we were successful …and both companies were fined TT#20,000 (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) each.’

Elder said the companies dismissed the workers in March contrary to the orders of the court  and that the unio0n brought another contempt of court order action the companies, naming directors as being in contempt.

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