Zimbabwe’s biggest worker’s union has taken the state and several firms to court for insisting that employees must be inoculated against Covid-19 before reporting for work, saying there is no law under the country’s statutes providing for compulsory vaccination.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is challenging Paul Mavima, the public service, labor and social welfare minister, the attorney general and several state-linked firms, including fixed-line operator TelOne and the Zimbabwe National Road Administration, for “taking the law into their own hands” on employee vaccinations, according to court filings.
Zimnat Insurance Ltd., associated with South African insurance provider Sanlam Ltd., SeedCo Zimbabwe and Windmill Ltd. are some of the firms also cited in the court filings dated Aug. 13 and seen by Bloomberg. The worker’s union said “thousands of workers” were affected by their employer’s decision to bar them from reporting for work and thousands more will be prejudiced.
The country has started the slow process of reopening, although lockdown measures remain in place. Social gatherings, including church meetings and dining in at restaurants, are open only to vaccinated people. The vaccination program was extended this week to 14- to 17-year-olds on the advice of scientists, Monica Mutsvangwa, the information minister said. Students will return to classrooms from Aug. 30, after schools were shuttered for more than two months.
The southern African nation has authorised the use of vaccines from China, Russia and India. The Johnson & Johnson shot was approved in July for emergency use after previously being blocked, as Zimbabwe struggled to contain a third wave of Covid-19 cases. It expects to reach herd immunity by year-end, with about 10% of its 15 million people fully vaccinated.
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