NEWS

Getting Vaccinated Helps Protect You From Killer Covid-19, Put Food On The Table, Garment Workers Say

They feel vaccination is the way forward because it not only helps provide for their families but also helps keep their homes and communities safe. Some companies are working in line with the Fiji’s Health and Safety Act where employers are taking cue to provide a safe-working environment for all their workers.
24 Jun 2021 12:17
Getting Vaccinated Helps Protect You From Killer Covid-19, Put Food On The Table, Garment Workers Say
Performance Floatation Developments managing director, Michael Towler (standing front second from left), is flanked by his staff members Mohd Khan (left) and Simon Pene. Standing in the back row (from the left) are Ravi Lachman, Emosi Bogi, Ro Veroto Tualagi, Geofferey Simpson and Zarina Hassan at their factory in Nabua, Suva, on June 23 2021. Out of the 197 staff members at Perfromance Floatation Developments, 188 have been vaccinated and continue working. Photo: Leon Lord

 

About 188 workers in a garment factory in Suva are now able to put food on the table for their families after they received the COVID-19 vaccination.

This is in response to the No Jab, No Job that companies like Performance Flotation Developments on Jerusalem Road in Vatuwaqa, has implemented.

It is in line with Fiji’s Health and Safety Act where employers are taking cue with a duty to provide a safe-working environment for all their workers.

 

What employers say

Performance Flotation Development staff members Mohammed Khan, Simon Pene, Ravi Lachman, Emosi Bogi, Ro Vereto Tubalagi, Geoffrey Simpson and Zarina Hassan say working in a safe environment is paramount.

They feel vaccination is the way forward because it not only helps provide for their families, but helps keep their homes and communities safe.

Company managing director Michael Towler has not yet come to the juncture to issue termination letters as yet. At least not until the end of this month.

Mr Towler said it came down to the collective decision which was best for all staff, not just a few.

“Everybody that we had on the books prior to COVID. We have 188 of the 197 back at work. The ones that are not here are trying to get vaccinated,” Mr Towler said.

“Originally this number was 16 and now it’s just nine. Maybe we will get some of them vaccinated and have them come back to work.

“But we will have to issue termination letters to some who are refusing to get vaccinated. Because I have to replace them. I cannot hold a job over forever. I believe we have given them a fairly long enough time to get vaccinated. It’s been several months.”

But the dreaded moment is not far off. Those nine employees if not vaccinated will be issued with termination letters.

Mr Towler said it was about a safe working environment.

“And without vaccination, we can’t do that. As we have seen in the community, we have had well over 2000 cases,” he said.

“It is getting worse. Probably the only way out of this is vaccination.”

Mr Towler’s action is not isolated.  Many companies have set up vaccination booths at their worksite to ensure that their workers abide with the soon-to-be guideline.

Case in point is Lyndhurst. The garment factory has almost 1000 staff members.

The company has set up a vaccination site outside one of its factories in the Kalabu Tax Free Zone.

In a statement issued by the company, this was done in the best interest of the staff.

“Whilst the company respects the individual rights of its employees, this needs to be weighed against the rights of our staff who have been vaccinated, and the overall duty of  care that the employer has to ensure that all employees in the Lyndhurst Group are safe,” said the statement from the company.

As of June 21, employees who had not been vaccinated have not been allowed to come to work.

 

 The vaccination drive

More and more people are getting themselves vaccinated now. Perhaps the call from the Government is being heard and people quickly realise the importance of vaccination.

Millions over the world have become vaccinated allowing nations to restore their economies and some to even open borders.

Life has somewhat gone back to normal with many even hosting international events in Fiji.

Some employers said more and more of their employees are getting vaccinated.

Standing in the line at Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital Akuila Waqa said he had realised that vaccination was not about just keeping people safe.

“My employer has not made vaccination compulsory, but I feel that we need this. I want to be sure that I can provide for my family,” he said.

University student Albert Wasa said as a young adult he was getting vaccinated because he wanted things to be normal.

He said he had seen news from the United States of America and Europe and it was plain to see that the only way of returning to normalcy was vaccination.

This perhaps looks to be the way the machinery of the Government is driving its people towards.

Schools are closed for more than eight weeks now, many businesses still remain closed and people are still unemployed.

As of June 22, of the target population of 587,651, so far 256,117 individuals had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 18,000 individuals are now fully vaccinated.

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



FS JAB DRIVE


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