THE National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) has slammed Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan’s over “threat” of action against unvaccinated employees.
The union’s secretary-general J. Solomon said the minister’s statement was unwarranted, unsubstantiated and discriminatory.
Saravanan recently said that workers who refused to get their Covid-19 vaccine jabs can face action under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act 1994 for causing an unsafe environment at the workplace.
However, he said while there was no legal provision stipulating mandatory Covid-19 vaccination, the OSH requires employers to ensure safety and health of everyone.
“NUBE is concerned that such careless statements by the human resources minister may lead to unjustified discrimination against unvaccinated employees, unfair dismissal of unvaccinated employees and discrimination by employers in the hiring process,” he said.
Such statements, said Solomon, would cause unnecessary anxiety and mental stress among employees who are already under severe stress due to Covid-19.
“NUBE is of the view that before the ministry takes any actions or issues any statements to affect employers and employees on the matter of vaccinations against Covid-19, the minister ought to have convened meetings involving all stakeholders, including the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and the Malaysian Employers’ Federation (MEF),” he said.
Solomon added that Saravanan should instead focus on working with employers to engage with employees on health concerns and the risks and efficacy of vaccines.
In addition, he should also provide avenues for open dialogues with medical experts and religious leaders.
The government should also discuss alternative approaches to protect against Covid-19 transmissions.
He said NUBE has communicated on various issues related to bank employees to the minister, but failed to get a response.
He added that it would be unfortunate if the ministry takes an approach that goes against Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government’s “Malaysian family” commitment.
Solomon hopes the ministry would respect the spirit of social dialogue with all stakeholders, including MTUC, MEF and NUBE to attain holistic social protection for all employees involved. – September 9, 2021.