Health chief, labor group against 'no vaccine, no work' plan

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 3) — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is against proposals to require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 first before they are allowed to physically return to work.

He said that the Inter-Agency Task Force has not discussed it yet, but he is personally against the idea because of supply shortage. He added that it is unnecessary because workers have been reporting to work even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Kung meron mang ganung panukala o mungkahi ay kinakailangan pag-aralan. Pero kung ako, hindi ako papayag na 'no vaccine, no work' policy," he said during the vaccination program at the East Avenue Medical Center on Wednesday.

[Translation: If there is such suggestion, it needs to be studied. But I am against a "no vaccine, no work" policy.]

A labor group, meanwhile, asked the government to put a stop to the "discriminatory and coercive" proposal to mandate vaccination for employees.

The Association of Labor Unions said they have received several complaints that some workers have been told by their superiors that they would not be allowed to report to work unless they participate in company-sponsored COVID-19 vaccination activities.

They added that some were threatened to be placed on floating status until they receive the vaccine. Another group of employees said they have been told that they would be required to present proof that they have been inoculated before they could return to work.

Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas also said he plans to issue an executive order regarding a "no vaccine, no work" policy.

"These arbitrary actions taken by abusive employers are audacious acts of direct discrimination and straightforward coercion," ALU national executive vice president Gerard Seno said in a statement. "Employees must never ever be subjected to any compulsion."

The labor group said the Department of Labor and Employment should step in before the reported policies become the norm in companies.