#COVID19: Gabon Trade Unions Threaten To Shut Down Economy Over Mandatory Vaccination

Several workers’ trade unions in Gabon have informed the government of their intention to go on strike regarding the Covid-19 measures.

Several workers’ trade unions in Gabon have informed the government of their intention to go on strike effective from Dec. 27 if the draconian anti-COVID-19 measures now in force in the country are not lifted.

The member unions of the Professional Organisations for Workers in the Petroleum and Annex Activities, Water and Electricity of Gabon which include the National Syndicate of Workers of the Water and Electricity Sector (SYNTEE), the Syndicate of Employees and Ex-employees of Petroleum and Annex Activities (SEERPAC) and the National Organisation of Petroleum Employees (ONEP) on Wednesday, Dec. 15, threatened to shut down water, gas, petrol and electricity supplies in the country if their demands were not met.

Their main demands include the withdrawal of the mandatory vaccination against the coronavirus and the reduction of the cost of PCR tests.

The trade unions say they have carried out a survey which indicates that “the majority of workers reject obligatory vaccination and the augmentation in the cost of COVID-19 PCR tests.”

They denounced the “obligatory vaccination decided upon by some employers as a condition for access to workplaces, with the total indifference of government, the augmentation in the cost of PCR tests and its obligatory character which weighs on the salaries of workers without any accompanying compensation.”

The workers’ syndicates also condemned the “discrimination against workers who refuse to volunteer to be vaccinated, “instituted by government,” adding that “this vaccination segregation is a violation of the Labour Code which disposes in its Article 9, line 1 that ‘all workers are equal before the law and benefit from the same protection and same guarantees.’”

The syndicates remarked that “by the non-exigence of a negative PCR test from vaccinated persons susceptible of transmitting the virus, the government and employers have decided to put in danger the lives of workers who have not volunteered to be vaccinated.”

“In view of the arguments enumerated, the SYNTEE, SEERPAC and ONEP announce the beginning of a general strike from Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 throughout the installations of the companies in the sectors cited,” the syndicates have revealed.

Meanwhile, the country had a pre-taste of the strike following the announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 15, as the whole country went dead with an unprecedented and spontaneous ‘ghost town’ operation.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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