Neida Agudelo, a worker and trade union leader at the Fresenius-owned Clínica del Prado in Medellín, has been fired a week after filing a complaint about the clinic to the Ministry of Health relating to alleged non-compliance with vaccination protocols against Covid-19.
Although a complaint to the health ministry is meant to remain anonymous, the documentation for the complaint alarmingly included Neida’s email that easily identifies her.
Three days later after filing the complaint on 9 March, a manager at the clinic called female workers to a meeting and spoke to them in a disrespectful manner, with unfounded accusations and threatened sanctions against the workers for complaints filed with the human resources department relating to the clinic’s alleged mismanagement of the vaccination process.
In addition, SINTRASASS union, which represents workers at the clinic, told UNI that surgical assistants also raised concerns about the vaccination protocols and wrote to the office of the Antioquia Secretary of Health. They were told that a complaint had already been raised by “a coworker of theirs” and that the clinic, not their office, was responsible for adjudicating the priorities for vaccination and properly up-loading information to the electronic system, as required by government protocols.
Neida was then dismissed on 16 March. Prior to her sacking, Neida was bullied and harassed by her immediate supervisor from the moment she joined the union. Neida is a working mother and head of her family, who is in a vulnerable situation due to a health condition and had informed her supervisor of her needs.
UNI Americas sent a letter to the clinic’s general manager to demand the immediate reinstatement of sister Neida Agudelo, as her dismissal after she made a complaint is a violation of her constitutional rights and of ILO conventions ratified by Colombia.
Alan Sable, Regional Director of UNICARE Americas stated “It is irrational to deprive the workers we call ‘heroes’ and ‘heroines’ of vaccines in the midst of a pandemic that has not yet ended. It is in these times of pandemic, now more important than ever, that companies protect and preserve the jobs of their employees.”