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Teachers’ Union UPE Clarifies Stance Against Workplace ‘Segregation’ Of Unvaccinated Employees

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The Union of Professional Educators has clarified its stance against the “segregation” of unvaccinated people at workplaces after earlier comments linking this practice to Nazism drew controversy. 

UPE issued a statement after its executive head Graham Sansone told Lovin Malta earlier this month that the mandatory vaccination or COVID-19 testing of employees bears echoes of how Nazi Germany had forced Jews to wear yellow badges with the Star of David.

He passed this comment after Malta Employers’ Association director general Joseph Farrugia confirmed his association is advising companies that they can oblige their staff who refuse to get vaccinated to undergo a swab test every week, with any office hours used to get tested deducted from their vacation leave.

A number of major businesses, including APS Bank and Methode Electronics, have introduced such policies in recent weeks.

“The Union of Professional Educators would like to clarify its recent statement published on Lovin Malta on the 20th of July 2021 in light of the position taken by MEA in relation to COVID-19 unvaccinated staff,” the UPE statement to Lovin Malta reads.

“The Union’s statement didn’t compare in its entirety the MEA with the Nazi regime or its atrocities but made a clear remark that it will oppose any form of segregation between vaccinated and unvaccinated workers as well as obligatory testing as recommended by the MEA.” 

“The UPE notes that Malta has eradicated segregation by implementing laws that make it illegal to discriminate, in fact, the law makes it clear that the once can not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or ethnicity and other factors.”

“Segregation was a tool used to excluded people in the recent past and such efforts by an employer would result in conflict on the place of work, thus creating a toxic working environment.”

“It is also to be pointed out that Public Health authorities have never issued a legal notice obliging workers to get vaccinated or tested but on the contrary, it has embarked on a noble effort to educate people on the benefits of vaccination, a stance that the UPE supports.”

With an estimated 28% of the global population now partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19, discussion has started turning to whether governments and businesses should force, or strongly incentivise, people to get vaccinated. 

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden this week announced that unvaccinated federal workers will be required to wear a mask on the job, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, and get tested for COVID-19 once or twice a week.

France recently passed a law obliging all healthcare workers to get vaccinated by 15th September, or risk suspension, and requiring a ‘health pass’ to enter bars, restaurants, planes, trains and some other venues.

To obtain the pass, people prove that they are either fully vaccinated, recently tested negative or recently recovered from the virus.

Meanwhile, tech giants Google and Facebook have announced that all employees who return to their US offices must be vaccinated.

Cover photo: UPE executive head Graham Sansone 

Do you think businesses should introduce strict protocols for unvaccinated people? 

READ NEXT: 111 New COVID-19 Cases And 199 Recoveries Confirmed In Malta

Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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