The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is suing several companies after they ordered workers to take the Covid-19 vaccines – or risk losing their jobs.
In an urgent High Court filing on Friday, the ZCTU said the actions by companies such as Zimnat Insurance, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA), TelOne, Windmill Limited, Seed Co Zimbabwe and the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences violated workers’ constitutional rights.
Public service minister Paul Mavhima and Attorney General Prince Machaya are also joined in the court action.
“There is no law in Zimbabwe making vaccination compulsory. Each person, having fully considered the implications and effects of vaccination, is expected to make a personal decision on whether or not to get vaccinated and where a person decides to get vaccinated, he or she is expected to make a decision relating to the timing of the vaccination,” the ZCTU argues in the court application.
It said the companies were “taking the law into their own hands as there is no law providing for compulsory vaccination in respect of Covid-19.”
“In the process, the aforesaid employers are infringing the fundamental rights of the affected employees protected by section 51, 52 (c), 65 (1) and 65 (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Thousands of workers in Zimbabwe have been affected and thousands are more likely to be affected if this court application is not heard urgently,” the ZCTU argues.
Mavhima, the ZCTU says through its lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku, “is folding his hands without intervening as contemplated under section 17 of the Labour Act (chap 28:01).”
In an unrelated matter, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) on Wednesday urged students to get vaccinated before returning to campus for examinations.
“The University of Zimbabwe wishes to advise and urge all its students to get vaccinated at centres of vaccination that have been established in your communities in and around the country before returning to campus for examinations,” the UZ said in a notice.
“This precaution is meant to protect yourself, other fellow students as well as our members of staff as we prepare to return to campus in the near future for examination and academic business.”
The move to force vaccinations increasingly appears at odds with the science after the Centers for Disease Control updated its guidelines, requiring the vaccinated to wear masks after a study indicated that breakthrough cases carried the same viral load as the unvaccinated and could equally transmit the disease.
In Los Angeles, United States, health authorities this week reported that vaccinated breakthrough infections are now 30% of all new Covid cases.