Government workers in Zimbabwe say they have been taken by surprise by their employers who announced that unvaccinated workers should not report for duty. On Wednesday secretary of the Public Service Commission Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe issued a circular directing all government departments to facilitate speedy vaccination of workers.
Under the new policy, civil servants who fail to report for duty because they are unvaccinated will not be paid for the missed days. Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) Secretary-General David Dzatsunga said workers should have been consulted first.
“This is rather shocking really that this kind of announcement is made from the blue. As much as we understand that vaccination is important, we have even encouraged our members to be vaccinated, the real problem here is that this was pronounced without any due consultation. There are so many issues here that are very obvious and others underlying but they need to be clarified,” he said.
Labour law expert, Rodgers Matsikidze told ZTN that the directive by the Public Service Commission can only become effective after the relevant statutory instrument has been put in place.
“If a government policy statement is supposed to be implemented, it is supposed to be then followed by the law. There are a number of issues around that are unclear. There may be a number of people that may not be capable of being vaccinated because of health conditions or because they react to these vaccines.
“A law would then specify what should happen. I think that policy statement is likely to be followed by a Statutory Instrument to legalize it,” he said.
Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe, the Public Service Commission secretary was not immediately available to react on the concerns raised by government workers.