Workers’ union to file dispute

Police arrive in numbers to disperse Danam (Fiji) Ltd employees gathered outside the garment factory in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The National Union of Workers (NUW) will file a dispute after close to 30 of its members were locked out of the Danam Fiji Pte Ltd garment factory because they are not vaccinated.

Union senior industrial relations officer and lawyer Mererai Vatege said the alleged lockout was a breach of individual rights.

“Our members weren’t given anything in black and white and they were locked out,” she said.

“We would have been satisfied if the company had issued a written letter to all our members, stating why they were not allowed to enter their workplace.”

She said the workers were notified by telephone not to report to work if they were not vaccinated.

“The NUW encourages its members to get vaccinated and understands the seriousness of the current situation. “However, individuals have fundamental rights that must be respected.

“Government has made it abundantly clear that no one can be forced to take the vaccine.

“Further, it is not a condition of employment that if one does not get administered with the vaccine, the employee would be terminated.”

The union pointed out Section 26 of the Fiji Constitution and Section 6(2) of the Employment Relations Act which prohibits any form of discrimination including the state of health of an employee.

Danam Fiji Ltd general manager Ranjit Lal said yesterday they had not terminated any staff.

“They can start work from tomorrow if they get vaccinated,” he said.

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