There are questions this afternoon about the rights of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This, as there tensions between staff at the Central Medical Laboratories Limited and the company’s management over a new structure implemented in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Managers have written to staff explaining that in light of the pandemic and a resulting reduction in sales by over 50-percent, the company has had to close its collection center and reduce staff working hours. 

The company says it’s also cutting salaries of staff by 50-percent, this month and will be laying off 30 staff members without pay for 120 days, to curtail expenses. 

The company also says there will be no overtime payment from April to June, which it says is subject to review or extension. 
And it says it will also not offer uniform, travel and meal allowances to staff.

In response, members of staff have written the company questioning the stance taken by the company. 

The staff members want to know how they will be compensated for working on weekends, since the company will desist from paying for overtime. 

They are recommending that staff members who work on Saturdays, be allowed a day off during the week. 

They also want to know what is the projected end date for the 50-percent salary cut. 

When Nationwide News contacted the company’s Managing Director, Audrey Clarke, she refused to comment. 

In the meantime, President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association, O’Neil Grant, says staff cannot be forced to work on weekends without provision for overtime payment.