ZCTU challenges firms over staff vaccination

LABOUR body, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), has approached the High Court seeking an order barring companies from demanding Covid-19 compulsory vaccination of their employees

In the urgent chamber application filed on Thursday, ZCTU cited Public Service minister Paul Mavima, Attorney General Prince Machaya, Zimnat Insurance Company, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara), TelOne (Private) Limited, Windmill Limited, Seed Co Zimbabwe and the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences (MSUAS) as respondents.

This comes after the companies issued directives prohibiting all of their unvaccinated employees from reporting to work.

“There is no law in Zimbabwe making vaccination compulsory. Each person, having fully considered the implications and effects of vaccination, is expected to make a personal decision on whether or not to get vaccinated and where a person decides to get vaccinated, he or she is expected to make a decision relating to the timing of the vaccination.

“It is on this basis … that the applicant is contending that the aforementioned employers are taking the law into their own hands … in the process they are infringing the fundamental rights of the affected employees,” ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo said in a court affidavit before the High Court.

Moyo further argued that the companies’ actions were a personal attack on the dignity of the unvaccinated workers and constituted stigmatisation.

“The impermissible attack becomes more apparent when it is noted that both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons transmit the virus. 

“The question then is: what is the point of excluding unvaccinated persons from workplaces if both can transmit the coronavirus?

“Vaccinated employees would be interacting daily with unvaccinated people outside the workplace, particularly in public transport facilities,” he averred.

The ZCTU demanded a court order declaring that the employers’ conduct was illegal and an infringement of workers’ fundamental right to dignity.