Labor group seeks free swab test for workers

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — To save workers from additional financial burden, labor group Nagkaisa on Sunday urged the government to shoulder the cost of swab tests for employees who refuse to get vaccinated.

At a virtual forum, Nagkaisa chairman Sonny Matula said the mandatory RT-PCR testing would push low-income workers to deeper poverty.

“The minimum monthly salary in Metro Manila is only P10,000. If an unvaccinated worker will be required to undergo swab test every two weeks, that’s P7,000 less for them,” Matula said. “How will they be able to live with only P3,000 per month?”

According to Matula, the government should respect the right of those who do not want to get vaccinated.

He said the law provides only for voluntary vaccination.

Fewer workers are against vaccination so the government or the employers should shoulder the cost of swab tests, Matula said.

Starting Dec. 1, only vaccinated workers will be allowed to work onsite.

Those who refuse to get inoculated are required to undergo regular swab tests.

“Compelling workers to get vaccinated or to undergo regular swab tests is unreasonable,” Matula said, adding that the policy should be questioned before the courts.

The labor group still encouraged all workers to get inoculated as a protection against COVID-19.               

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