Today's Labour News

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graduate thumb100 BL Premium reports that as the debate about mandatory vaccination policies intensifies, some of SA’s leading universities are mulling making it compulsory for staff and students to get jabs against Covid-19 to ensure the academic programme is not disrupted.

But, such a move could put higher education institutions and trade unions on a collision course. Trade union federation Cosatu has said it would rather see workers volunteer to get vaccinated, and making it mandatory “provokes a negative reaction and creates a poisoned debate”. While it is unclear what a mandatory vaccine policy for tertiary institutions would entail, there is a possibility that those who refuse to be vaccinated could face restrictions on campus to limit the spread of Covid-19. The rollout of vaccines among students has largely been slow amid growing hesitancy. Linda Meyer, a director of operations at Universities SA, the body that represents the country’s public universities, says while no-one can be forced under the current legislative framework to be vaccinated, tertiary institutions have a constitutional right and established rights according to the Higher Education Act to determine who may access their property. “Universities have an obligation to take positive steps ... to ensure that staff, students and the public are safe on their sites or face criminal consequences,” Meyer indicated. Earlier in September, the deans of SA’s medical and dental schools recommended compulsory vaccination for their students and the general healthcare workforce, arguing it would protect individuals from serious illness and help slow the spread of Covid-19.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bekezela Phakathi at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)

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