Organized labor on Wednesday urged employers to inoculate their workers to help the government control the surging number of Covid-19 cases.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) also appealed to the government to adopt Indonesia’s mass inoculation strategy, which prioritizes young working-age adults.
The call came after President Duterte allowed the private sector to acquire Covid-19 vaccines to help the government speed up mass vaccination.
“We urge the employers and the Inter-Agency Task Force [for the Management of] Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to look into Indonesia’s strategy of prioritizing the mass vaccination of workers as an approach to manage the transmission and at the same time allow the economy to open,” the TUCP, the country’s biggest labor group, said.
“We appeal to the employers to direct their corporate social responsibility programs to mass vaccinate their workers to speed up efforts to defeat the current surge and simultaneously keep our economy afloat,” it added.
The labor group pointed out that workers are the most exposed to possible infection because they have to go to the streets and take public transportation to reach their workplaces.
“These are the same workers who are running the machines and manning the businesses in order to keep their families clothed, fed and thereby keeping the economy afloat. What more evidence is needed to prove that all workers are “essential” workers?” TUCP stressed.
The group asked the government as well to cover the vaccination of micro and small enterprises, which comprises 98 percent of business establishments around the country, stressing that most of the said firms were at the brink of closure.
“Many of the small employers who have 1 to 99 workers have already placed the majority of their workers on “no work, no pay” arrangements. These are the employers most-at-risk of going under. Once they close shop their workers will further plunge into poverty and hunger,” said TUCP Vice President Luis Corral.
“For medium-sized and large-sized establishments with 100 and more employees, the TUCP is appealing to the employers to shoulder the costs of their vaccines and vaccination,” he added.
The group likewise called on the Department of Labor and Employment to reconsider its qualification criteria for access to the P5,000 Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program, or CAMP, to now include the underemployed and those who experienced being laid off temporarily or permanently to help tide over the 4.2 million currently unemployed workers.