Saturday, December 04, 2021

TUCP slams DOLE chief for justifying 'mandatory' jab for workers

THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) lambasted Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday, October 22, for justifying the implementation of the "no vaccine, no work" and "no vaccine, no pay" in some business establishments.

In a statement, TUCP said it is "disgracefully irresponsible" for Bello to say that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) resolution can be a legal basis for employers to withhold salary of and dismiss their unvaccinated employees.

“The IATF resolution only requires fully vaccinated workers for the opening of certain services. But the DOLE Secretary overstretched its application to justify the ongoing, illegal 'no jab, no pay' and 'no jab, no work' schemes by companies,” TUCP said.

"Why is Secretary Bello now giving employers the imprimatur to fire workers or make them work without pay, should these workers not be fully vaccinated?" it added.

"The position of Secretary Bello is absolutely without legal basis and will now promote a rampant disregard for worker's rights," added TUCP.

The statement came after Bello said on Thursday, October 21, that employers may withhold salary and even fire employees who are not fully vaccinated, based on the recent IATF guidelines governing the opening of establishments under Alert Level 3.

According to Bello, the IATF resolution governing Alert Level 3 is a legal basis for employers to impose a “no jab, no pay” and “no jab, no work” policy.

The labor group said they disagree with the position of Bello, saying the Labor Code and the Covid-19 Vaccination Act of 2021 provides that a vaccination card is not a condition for employment.

"Why would a mere IATF resolution be superior to the Labor Code prohibition on non-payment of wages? Why would a mere IATF resolution supersede the Covid-19 Vaccination Act of 2021, which provides that a vaccination card is not a condition for employment?" said TUCP.

"It should not be forced upon our workers or be obtained through coercion through a distortion of our laws and regulations," it added.

The labor group, however, stressed that they are in favor of having all qualified workers be voluntarily vaccinated.

"We understand the importance and need to get vaccinated. It is for the workers and their families’ health too. But let us not forget the main problem still confronting us, which is the lack of vaccine supply and the inability of workers to get vaccination slots," said TUCP. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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