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Vaccine used to attack rights in New Zealand and Hong Kong

Issue 2753
Border workers in New Zealand have been sacked for refusing a coronavirus vaccine
Border workers in New Zealand have been sacked for refusing a coronavirus vaccine (Pic: Ministry of Health/Wikimedia commons)

New Zealand’s customs agency has sacked nine border workers because they refused to have a Covid-19 vaccine.

And in Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers could lose their jobs if they don’t have the vaccine.

The developments are worrying signs of how governments and bosses could use the virus to undermine workers’ rights.

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern pledged earlier this year that the government would not make the vaccine compulsory for frontline workers.

Now it is a legal requirement for some workers to be vaccinated. The E tu union said it “will not tolerate discrimination against workers who choose not to vaccinate”.

The Hong Kong plans affect migrant domestic workers, largely from the Philippines and Thailand, who could be forced to vaccinate before having their contracts renewed.

The government could also force any new migrant worker to be vaccinated before entering Hong Kong.

The Asian Migrants Coordinating Body condemned the moves as “discrimination” because migrant workers “are easy targets and scapegoats”.

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