No jab, no work? DOLE urged to probe 'discrimination' vs unvaccinated workers

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2021 05:40 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2021 07:07 PM

Manila residents belonging to categories A1, A2, A3, and A4 priority group get their vaccine jabs against COVID-19 inside the President Sergio Osmeña Highschool in Tondo, Manila on June 9, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Manila residents belonging to categories A1, A2, A3, and A4 priority group get their vaccine jabs against COVID-19 inside the President Sergio Osmeña Highschool in Tondo, Manila on June 9, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was urged Monday to investigate workplaces reportedly enforcing a "no vaccine, no work" policy that discriminates against unvaccinated laborers. 

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said they have received complaints from workers about their employers implementing what they say is a discriminatory scheme.

KMU cited a manpower agency that allegedly left over a dozen workers hanging "because they were unable to present vaccination cards despite accomplishing complete requirements." 

Another manpower agency reportedly sent out an advisory about what workers call "coerced vaccination" for current and incoming employees.

The DOLE on March 12 issued a guideline stating "[a]ny employee who refuses or fails to be vaccinated shall not be discriminated against in terms of tenure, promotion, training, pay, and other benefits, among others, or terminated from employment."

"No vaccine, no work policy shall not be allowed," it added.

The Department of Health (DOH) and other government agencies and officials have reiterated that vaccination should be voluntary.

KMU said DOLE should investigate these incidents. 

Meanwhile, it also blamed the government’s "slow and inefficient" vaccine procurement and rollout as another factor contributing to workers’ woes.

"Kahit nakapagdesisyon na ang manggagawa na magpabakuna, napakatagal naman o minsan wala pang supply ng bakuna," KMU secretary general Jerome Adonis said.

(Even if workers want to get jabbed, they wait so long to get scheduled, or sometimes there is no vaccine available in the first place.)

'NO LEGAL BASIS'

In a press conference, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said there is no legal basis for employers to compel their workers to be vaccinated.

"It is an illegal policy especially so na kulang pa tayo ng supply ng vaccines... 'Wag muna tayo magpilit na ma-vaccinate lahat," he said.

The Labor chief added that workers being subjected to the discriminatory policy can reach out to their hotlines. 

"Our inspectors are on duty kaya kung meron kayong reklamo, just let us know and we will conduct an inspection," Bello said, adding 
"administrative sanctions" await violators. 

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