GPWU Denounces Enforcement Of Mandatory Vaccination On Workers

PR – The GPWU notes with deep concern some troubling, underhanded, backdoor tactics employed by the Government, to enforce mandatory vaccination upon public workers and in particular, vulnerable Day Care workers and some members in the Tourism Sector.

The GPWU has verified that persons are being bullied, intimidated and enforced into taking the vaccine and to disclose their personal medical details. Of even greater concern, is that while there has been no official correspondence to workers; through word of mouth, WhatsApp messages and in-person visits, members have been instructed and mandated by supervisors to provide proof of vaccination by given dates.

The union advises supervisors that they do not have the right to enforce vaccination on any person and that they should be mindful to exercise a duty of care to themselves and refrain from exercising authority with no basis in law and for which, no official cover has been provided.

The GPWU categorically informs ALL workers, that NO supervisor or manager has the authority or power to mandate vaccination upon them and that where such instructions have been received, they should be wholesomely disregarded.

At a meeting with Department of Public Administration (DPA), on Monday 18, October 2021, the GPWU was given firm assurances that NO worker or grouping of workers in any Ministry or Department has been instructed to vaccinate as a mandate – NO MANDATORY VACCINATION. When contacted, the Ministry of Social Development was also not able to provide any official cover for the instructions given to supervisors, but referred to a word-of mouth instruction for mandatory vaccination.

The issue of vaccination is too serious for any person to be carelessly forced into such a choice. As regards the demands for weekly PCR Testing, the GPWU refers to the ILO Convention 155 Article 21, which states that any Safety and Health measures implemented by employers, shall not involve any expenditure for workers. It is also noted that mandatory vaccination is not recommended by the WHO, PAHO or the ILO.

The Union is repeating its call on the Administration as it has done throughout this pandemic, to heed the recommendations from these organizations and act responsibly, in the best interest of the nation, as we together manage this crisis.

Members who are confronted with such a situation are urged to immediately bring same to the attention of higher-level manager, such as a Permanent Secretary, the Department of Public Administration (DPA) and the Union.