Port Moresby workers challenge ‘no jab, no job’ workplace policy in court

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PNG National Court in Port Moresby
The PNG National Court in Port Moresby ... hearing a lawsuit against mandatory vaccinations in the workplace. Image: PNGimage.net

By Charles Moi in Port Moresby

Employees of the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) have challenged the legality of the “no jab, no job” policy imposed by NCDC on Port Moresby with a lawsuit.

Lawyer George Kaore, representing the NCDC Workers Association, appeared before Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi to seek certain interim orders at the National Court in Waigani.

City manager Bernard Kipit, Governor Powes Parkop and NCDC were named as defendants in the case.

Kaore said the NCDC employees filed the case for the court to enforce the rights of the workers pursuant to section 41 of the Constitution (Prescribed Acts) and section 48 of the Constitution (Freedom of Employment).

He said the covid-19 vaccination should not be mandatory in the workplace.

However, Justice Kandakasi advised Kaore to provide to the court a list of NCDC workers who were vaccinated and those who were not vaccinated.

Justice Kandakasi also told Kaore to provide a list of the non-vaccinated NCDC staff who had taken a covid-19 test.

‘Basic information’ not provided
Justice Kandakasi said such basic information was not provided by the plaintiffs to the court.

After considering submissions from the parties, he ordered the National Executive Council (NEC), Health Minister Jelta Wong, and the National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning to be added as defendants to the case.

The court ordered the government through NEC, Wong and Manning to provide a copy of the National Covid-19 Pandemic Response plan, the strategic implementation plan and all relevant details about the covid-19 awareness, contact tracing and isolation.

Justice Kandakasi said the case by the NCDC Workers Association would be heard together with the case filed by the Human Rights Advocacy International.

The Human Rights Advocacy International filed the case in the National Court claiming that the “no jab, no job” policy implemented by some government agencies, private companies and public statutory institutions was unconstitutional.

The case has been adjourned to November 16.

Charles Moi is a reporter for The National newspaper. Republished with permission.

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