As the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections spreads through South Africa, many companies are introducing measures to make vaccination mandatory and ensure their workplaces are safe.
Telecommunications giant, MTN, announced they will be introducing a mandatory vaccination policy for staff from January 2022.
In a statement, MTN said their employees have a legal right to apply for exemptions from vaccination, however if they are exempt, MTN will not be obliged to continue their employment contract.
The Communications’ Workers Union (CWU) says they will oppose the mandatory vaccination policy introduced by MTN. Despite the suspension of their general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala, the union is ready to challenge MTN’s policy when it is introduced next month.
The Unions Clyde Mervin said they will respond to all the challenges faced by the sector they represent. He adds that the sector is currently under attack.
Mervin said, “We can only encourage members to vaccinate but it should never be made forcefully”.
Ralph Mupita, MTN Group President and CEO said, “As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest standards of health and safety, and that has informed our decision to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for our staff”.
“Our new COVID-19 policy recognises that some of our markets don’t have adequate access to vaccines. It also recognises some low-risk roles that will be accommodated with full-time work-from-home or alternate arrangements, but this will be a small population within our workforce” added Mupita.
Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the government will be setting up a task team which will engage in consultations on making vaccines mandatory for certain activities.