The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) condemns all those employers who are bullying and victimising their employees to vaccinate by force. The Federation has received several complaints from workers who are being coerced into accepting the vaccines or face losing their jobs.
We encourage all workers to vaccinate but employers should not victimise those who refuse to take a vaccine. All South Africans have a right to accept or refuse to be vaccinated either on medical grounds or based on their individual beliefs.
The Ministerial Directive on Workplace Occupational Health and Safety, clearly states that whilst we encourage all persons to vaccinate, all persons, including workers have the right to decline on medical grounds or for constitutional reasons, like bodily integrity or freedoms of belief and relief. Medical treatment by law is based upon informed consent.
Employers should partner with government and other social partners to encourage people to vaccinate and to fight the misinformation that has led to many people to be skeptical about vaccines. Dialogue and not force or coercion should be used to address the vaccination skepticism.
The Federation is urging employers should facilitate engagements with employees and their unions on the benefits of vaccinating and provide logistical assistance like transport for workers to vaccine sites or to arrange for workplace vaccine sites. Employers should also as per the Ministerial Directive, provide a day’s paid leave for workers when they vaccinate as well as paid time off for any worker experiencing side effects afterwards.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla( COSATU National Spokesperson)