30 November 2021
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) endorses the government’s plans to investigate the feasibility of making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory and barring unvaccinated individuals from accessing specific facilities and areas. FEDUSA believes that the social partners of organised labour, business, community and government at NEDLAC should be given the opportunity of investigating the complexities of introducing mandatory vaccinations for workers and the general public. This should be in addition to investigating the feasibility of restricting access by unvaccinated individuals to shared spaces and public facilities such as workplaces, public transport, restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals and places of worships.
The outcomes of such investigations and consultations should strike a good balance between public health concerns, constitutional provisions, cultural and religious beliefs and the imperatives of economic recovery and reconstruction. An important area of focus for organized labour would be whether both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act should be amended to include COVID-19 as an occupational disease that triggers fair compensation for affected workers.
The current national vaccination rate of just over 24% is still a long way off from the 70% target required to achieve herd immunity and FEDUSA will continue reaching out to unvaccinated workers and individuals to embrace the government’s Vooma Vaccination programme. Responsible behaviour and irresponsible consumption of alcoholic beverages remain vital to avoid loss of lives over this holiday season and forcing the government to possibly impose another alcohol ban. Another alcohol ban on top of the latest international travel bans and red lists will hit the already embattled hospitality and tourism industries hard and lead to more job losses and irreparable harm.
These countries will continue to renew their travel bans until South Africa’s vaccination rate increases significantly to between 70% and 90% of the population, pushing the hospitality and tourism sectors further into the doldrums. On the other hand, retrenchments will increase if the government allows employers to bar unvaccinated workers from entering their premises after the planned consultations on mandatory vaccination.
For interviews please contact:
Ms. Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
Mr Ashley Benjamin
FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary
083 258 4433