Stevian Simmonds reports

A group of Private Sector Associations and Workers Unions are calling on the government to establish a unified vaccination policy for the workplace.

The group includes the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, PSOJ, the Jamaica Employers Federation, JEF, the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, JCTU.

In a joint statement at the weekend, the groups say given the surge in COVID 19 cases, all Jamaicans should be urged to make the choice to get vaccinated.

But the groups say they are not in support of general edicts by employers to impose requirements for vaccination of its workforce.

Instead, the groups say employees must be educated prior to making their final choices.

The group also acknowledges that there may be specific and extenuating circumstances that could make the requirement for vaccination in some workplaces a necessity.

They commend the government and other stakeholders for their efforts in improving the availability of vaccines across the island.

But the groups say more work is needed to increase accessibility.

They say that could be achieved by expediting legislative amendments, or identifying and implementing other strategic initiatives, as the country seeks to significantly accelerate the rate of vaccinations.

President of the Jamaica Employers Federation, JEF, David Wan says the groups want to meet with the Labour Ministry and others who play a key role in monitoring and enforcement of workplace protocols.

He notes there are several reports allegedly imposing vaccine mandates on their employees and clients.

The groups say Jamaica is in a tenuous economic and social position at this point where anxiety, fear, and hopelessness are pervasive.