Employers forcing unvaccinated staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 bears echoes of how Nazi Germany had forced Jews to wear yellow badges with the Star of David, Union of Professional Educators (UPE) executive head Graham Sansone has warned.
“We’re against mandatory testing or mandatory vaccination, and this transcends into issues of freedom of association and constitutional rights,” Sansone told Lovin Malta. “We have a constitutional right of free choice, no one can force you to take the vaccine.”
Sansone spoke out after Malta Employers’ Association director general* Joseph Farrugia confirmed his association is advising companies that they can implement rules similar to the one drawn up by APS Bank – which will soon start required its unvaccinated staff to undergo a swab test every week, with any office hours used to get tested deducted from their vacation leave.
“It’s not a punishment on individual employees… the intention rather is to minimise the risk,” Farrugia told Times of Malta. “It’s in the interest of the health of all employees. The employer and employees all have the right to know the health risks to which they are exposed.”
“So it’s reasonable to ask the employees for a periodical swab test to determine whether they are infected or not.”
However, Sansone described the MEA’s stance as “extremely dangerous”, comparing it to the infamous Nazi policy to mark out Jews from the rest of society.
“People will start avoiding the unvaccinated at work and discriminating against them; we can already see this happening.”
He said that while his union had pressured the authorities to prioritise educators in the vaccine rollout, he made it clear from the start that the UPE won’t tolerate forced vaccinations and forced testing.
“The solution for unvaccinated people should be an educational campaign. If someone isn’t vaccinated and feels symptoms, they should be responsible enough to get tested out of their own will or else self-isolate. However, no head of school should oblige an educator to get tested.”
Cover photo: Left: Graham Sansone (Photo: UPE)
*An earlier version of the article incorrectly referred to Joseph Farrugia as MEA president and not as MEA director general
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