Mauritius: CMWEU urges govt and companies to protect workers’ jobs and health from COVID-19

23 March 2020 09:01

The CMWEU, together with its sister unions from the CTSP National Centre, held a dialogue with the Ministry of Labour on how the government can ensure that specific measures and protocols are put in place and observed by companies to ensure the workers’ health and safety against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The BWI affiliate reported that the Mauritian government pledged that there will be no job losses and it will compensate workers’ loss of income if companies are unable to pay their full salaries. A fund sourced from companies will also be made available to finance the workers’ COVID training.  The union also asserted that free COVID-19 testing kits should be accessible to all workers and the general public. 

Similarly, the government and employers agreed that information related to contracting and transmitting the virus will be readily available to all workers in different languages.

The union called attention to the fact that under normal circumstances, workers engaged in precarious work often lack rights and protections. These include contractual and short-term workers, self-employed and migrant workers, and those working in Chinese companies and other workplaces where the employer-employee relationship is not clear. The group called on the government to protect those workers as well and guarantee that special paid leave is available to them if they contract the virus.

 In a statement, Reeaz Chuttoo, the General Secretary of CMWEU, said: “Coronavirus is an occupational health and safety issue for workers and a global threat to workers’ job security. If governments do not come up with rescue packages, many workers will become jobless with no income to rely on.”