Communication Workers Union to oppose mandatory vaccinations for its workers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says it stands ready to oppose mandatory vaccinations in companies where it has members.

One such company is cellphone giant MTN which has announced that it will begin implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for its employees from next month.

CWU is currently mired in controversy following the suspension of its General Secretary Aubrey Tshabalala two months ago. He is currently facing a disciplinary hearing on eight charges which include accusations that he went on unauthorised foreign trips and failed to do his work in line with the union’s constitution.

The suspension of Tshabalala has caused ructions within the union with some members expressing support for him and calling his suspension unjust.

Last month, cellphone giant MTN joined a list of companies that announced mandatory vaccines for their workers. It said its employees will have to provide a valid reason for refusing to be vaccinated or they will be fired.

The Communication Workers Union represents a big chunk of MTN’s 6 000 employees in the country and says it will oppose the move.

Many other worker formations in the country have come out against mandatory vaccination at the workplace saying it’s unconstitutional.

‘Mandatory vaccination legally justifiable’ 

Constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos says making vaccination mandatory could be legally justifiable in some cases.

Many major companies were initially hesitant to venture into the debate over whether to mandate vaccines for their workers or not.

Some advocated giving their employees access to the vaccine as early as possible, with the hope that a significant majority of people would opt to get the shots voluntarily.

However, that has not been the case in reality as some experts argue that people’s making vaccination mandatory would violate people’s rights.

Professor De Vos says this may not necessarily be the case.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, renowned epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim suggested that vaccines could become mandatory in some sectors, such as healthcare.

Karim said those in the industry who choose not to vaccinate should be required to provide a weekly negative COVID-19 test.

Several countries across the globe already have the requirement in place for some sectors.

Karim added that this is for society’s benefit at large.

VIDEO: President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government was looking at introducing a vaccine passport system, which could be used as evidence of vaccination.