The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) have asked the government to introduce compulsory vaccination for the entire adult population of the country. Representatives of the largest associations of workers and employers in the country explained the initiative by the fact that the negative development of the situation will lead to the closure of enterprises, unemployment and loss of income. The appeal, according to the experts with whom Kommersant spoke, was caused both by pressure from the authorities and by the requests of the business itself. However, it will be problematic to implement the initiative: for this, according to lawyers, it is necessary to rewrite the legislation, and the State Duma went on vacation until September and is unlikely to meet unscheduled.
According to the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin and the chairman of the FNPR Mikhail Shmakov, all adult Russians need to be vaccinated, with the exception of those with contraindications or a high level of antibodies. In a joint appeal, they ask the government to make a decision on compulsory vaccination, employers – to ensure this process, and workers – to get vaccinated in order to “work effectively and protect their loved ones and relatives.”
According to them, as a result of the pandemic and measures to contain it in Russia, the total number of hours worked during the year has significantly decreased, and thousands of jobs have been eliminated. “In these conditions, the most important task for employers and trade unions is to maintain production potential. Otherwise, the development of new waves of coronavirus infection may entail the need to make decisions on the closure of enterprises for an indefinite period, ”the joint statement says.
As a reminder, compulsory vaccination for certain categories of workers has already been introduced in ten regions of Russia. The first such decree was issued in May in Yakutia. On June 16, the chief sanitary doctors of Moscow and the Moscow region announced the need to vaccinate at least 60% of employees in the service sector, trade, medical and educational organizations. Then vaccination for epidemiological indications was introduced by the authorities of Kuzbass, Leningrad, Sakhalin, Tula, Tver regions, Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Krasnodar Territory. On Friday, the head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova said that on June 28, similar measures will be introduced in eight more regions with an unfavorable epidemiological situation. In these entities, workers with an occupational risk of contracting infectious diseases in case of refusal to vaccinate will be dismissed without pay. Responsibility for complying with these rules rests with employers, who face heavy fines for violating regulations.
According to the interlocutor of Kommersant, who is familiar with the preparation of the appeal of the RUIE and FNPR, it appeared under the influence of both the insistent recommendation of the authorities and the requests of the business itself, onto which the responsibility for vaccinating employees was actually shifted: “It is important for entrepreneurs to continue working. In a situation where there is an alternative in the form of closing production facilities in a number of regions, which will disrupt the entire production chain, lockdown is the greatest of evils compared to the compulsory vaccination. “
Anatoly Domnikov, chairman of the Trade Union of Health Workers of the Russian Federation (part of the FNPR), called the appeal “absolutely justified”. “We have repeatedly discussed the issue, and the FNPR addressed us directly. We gave our opinion that we do not just do not object, but we support and insist that vaccination is carried out on a large scale, and we also do not object to people being removed from work, because otherwise we simply will not be able to cope with the epidemic, “said” Kommersant “Mr. Domnikov.
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At the same time, according to Yuri Starodumov, a lawyer at the Center for Social and Labor Rights (an NGO that provides legal support in the field of labor relations and advises trade unions), the need for mandatory vaccination is “definitely” not the position of the entire trade union movement in Russia: “At least from the Confederation of Labor of Russia, in which about 2 million members, I have not heard such proposals. ” He noted that most of the leaders and members of trade unions support vaccination and voluntarily underwent it “There is a certain percentage of people, for example, in the trade union“ Teacher ”or the association of health workers“ Action ”, who do not want to be vaccinated for one reason or another. There are actually not that many of them. The trade unions respect their opinion and make sure that everything that happens to them is legal. “
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Vsevolod Lukhovitsky, co-chairman of the Interregional Trade Union of Educational Workers “Teacher”, confirmed to Kommersant that they did not agree with him on the request to the government for mandatory vaccination. He noted that the trade union “wants to act strictly according to the law and with respect for their own health and the health of others.”
“We will not allow compulsory vaccination for those for whom vaccination is contraindicated, we will not allow dismissals, because according to the law, you can only be suspended from work. At the same time, we do not support the refusal to vaccinate those who simply do not want to be vaccinated, ”said Mr. Lukhovitsky.
In the RUIE, as Kommersant found out, there are also those who do not share the initiative. “The principle of voluntary vaccination cannot be canceled,” Igor Yurgens, a member of the union’s board, told Kommersant. “If the sovereign decides to introduce a lockdown, this is his right. But forcing a citizen to administer a vaccine is a violation of his individual rights. “
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The position of representatives of the largest associations of workers and employers in the country is “natural” for the current situation, says Gleb Kuznetsov, head of the EISS expert council (ANO Expert Institute for Social Research; cooperates with the presidential administration). “The situation when an employer forces an employee to perform medical manipulations on himself or collects (bypassing the principles of medical secrecy) confidential information about the medical status of employees does not look normal,” the political scientist said. “Naturally, neither the employees represented by the FNPR, nor the employers ( RSPP) cannot be satisfied with this decision ”. Lawyer Yuri Starodumov admits that vaccination “in the current situation” can be made mandatory, but stresses that this will require rewriting the legislation: “The Constitution provides for the possibility to protect public health to limit certain rights of citizens, but, of course, only by federal law.”
“The law would allow giving the state the function of regulation in this area, ”Gleb Kuznetsov agrees with him.
Note that on June 17, the State Duma held its last convocation meeting. The next time parliament will meet with a new composition after the September 19 elections. A Kommersant source in the presidential administration doubts that for the sake of adopting such a law, the federal authorities will gather deputies for an unscheduled meeting.
The Ministry of Health did not comment on the initiative of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and the FNPR, but reminded that vaccination today is a “collective security factor”. “The vaccination of each person depends not only on his own health, but also on the safety of those around him. Therefore, the active participation of citizens is very important, ”the department told Kommersant.