COSATU has warned that uncertainty over occupational health safety legislation over Coronavirus might lead to especially private workers at ports of entry not co-operating for fear of contracting the virus.
The federation said unlike public servants, private workers were not covered and are subjected to strict principles of no work no pay.
Spokesman Sizwe Pamla said some workers feared that they could lose out if they contracted the disease when they would have to take time off for medical attention.
Pamla said this was discussed during the federation’s Central Executive Committee workshop after seven cases of Coronavirus was confirmed by the health department on Monday.
The discussions were around how the virus would impact workers in general at their work places.
“Fearing financial hardship, workers might not easily cooperate with the prospect of forgoing wages to receive medical attention which may exacerbate the spread of the virus.
“Workers in the health sector and the various ports of entry are fearful for their health and safety at work and remain uncertain of whether current occupational health and safety legislation cover the COVID-19 virus and what their labour rights are if they were to contract the virus,” Pamla said.
He said the federation was working on developing an awareness programme to focus on educating the workers as this was the best way possible to arm them.
Further, the federation urged all its affiliates to engage shop stewards through social media platforms, branch meetings and workplaces to spread awareness to the workers.
The federation has also called for a NEDLAC meeting at the higher level to discuss the roles of each constituency in stopping the spread of the virus.
“The meeting must resolve on a clear program of action to ensure workers and communities remain healthy and steps are taken to prop our ailing economy in the face of recession and the outbreak of coronavirus,” Pamla said.