By Sylvester Jayakody –
At the moment there is a big controversy and turmoil than the COVID EPIDEMIC.
What has emerged and taken center position, now, is the VACCINATION for Covid. We are compelled to talk about the vaccine and not about the Illness.?
We see competition, propaganda and the struggle the countries producing vaccines, trying to sell their vaccines to “give for free” and sell the rest at a “higher price” to people in other poor countries, than, people infected with Covid in their own countries.
In this context, we see a variety of humorous and disgusting scenes on television, where Ministers and Members of the Parliament on one side, Doctors, Mayors, Teachers and also Trade Unionists on the other.
It has been seen on social media as well as on television that various parties are struggling to get the vaccine, causing a great deal of controversy and uproar! For what? Is the vaccine going to save you from the Epidemic? The producers themselves are not giving that guarantee. So what? what are you trying to gain?
For how long have we been wearing the mask and what is our experience? For how long have we been facing lockdowns and tarvel restrictions and what is the result?
In a very recent post on social media, it is ridiculed that
1) we avoid sunlight and fresh air by staying inside our houses.
2) That we stop breathing freely for 8 hours by wearing a mask.
3) We stay inside houses and watch television and news propaganda continuously which make us feel sick.
4) Instill fear psychosis and anxiety in the minds of our children and neighbors
5) Get injected with untested vaccines? WHAT untested vaccines?
In this context it is said that there are trade unions among those who are fighting for this vaccine.!
As a trade union secretary, my opinion is different. (This should be discussed as soon as we are free from this maze inside our Union forums.)
Governments and the manufacturers of these vaccines have an ethical responsibility to give more and more information and the freedom for individuals to decide the use of the vaccine and not to force the vaccine on them.
In a context where even manufacturers who have not been tested on the exact health regulation and whose results have not been determined are skeptical of vaccine reactions. That we should be more responsible. Exaggeration and publicity about this with various heterogeneous intentions double the suspicion about this vaccine.
In my view, the problem for our people is not the problem of the vaccine. As a trade Unionist, I give priority to the following.
The following are:
The unions should focus on the following rather than a vaccine as it will be diverting our attention on the real issues.
Here are the questions: –
1. While the vast majority of the population suffers from not being able to get even a DAILY MEAL in the current context, it is questionable why the country should invest to buy vaccines by falling into debt. The majority do not have proper food and they need to get vaccinated?
2. From a beggar sleeping on the street who has no daily necessities or a home, workers who work for a salary of ten thousand or fifteen thousand rupees a month have to face, and the priority is to quench their hunger rather than the problem of getting vaccinated. They strive for one meal at a time for their family or the problem of finding ways to deliver the meal to the needy.
3. For working people who earn a monthly salary, as well as for those who provide daily meals, the question today is how to get the next meal rather than the vaccine.!
4. The question of how and when to recover the lost education period for the children who have lost in the lurch for more than one and a half years. How to pay the online
5. Adults suffering from chronic diseases Covid an issue. The Vaccine is a problem and is helpless, so the question is how to help them.
6. The question is how pensioners can sustain this present day with the unprecedentedly high cost of living, with their meager pension.
7. The problems of workers have become many folds and are aggravated by the state media’s controversial misleading announcements. Furthermore, the curtailment of public transport had led to extra expenses to reach their work places with so much difficulties. Apart from this those who have worked for many years have not received their normal salary increase to commensurate with the rising cost of living and commitments in the given situation.
8. The other problem is that they have lost prospects of promotions, salary increases, bonuses, gratuity payments they entitle to during their service. etc etc.
9. The leave entitlements have been decided by the management and in some cases forcible deduction of leave or pay cuts have taken place. Pregnant mothers have become victims of various inhuman treatments with no place to report. Milking mothers have lost their freedom of leaving the workplace to feed their infants.
10. The real issue as far as Unions are concerned is not allowing members of Unions or their leaders to meet and discuss issues that affect them. The issue of compulsory fourteen days of unpaid quarantine is threatened, if found to have participated in trade Union meeting is the threat that is posed to workers in many reputed companies.
11. Union meetings are curtailed or “virtually prohibited” The issues confronting workers have become stagnant without any solution for an unforeseen period. I feel this will lead to turmoil amongst the workers in time to come.
12. In the midst of all these obstacles is the question of the efforts of the employers to achieve 100 percent production under the pretext of maintaining the Economy.! Office employees are compelled to work from home with zoom technology.!
13. The Labour department and its District offices are somewhat inactive with the excuse of Covid. Thus the workers who turn the wheel of the economy have to wait indefinitely for redress.
14. The only mechanism that has been there to air out the common grievances in the Labour front, even though it was treated as a “talk shop” the National Labour Advisory Council under its own guidelines and standing orders should have met once a month has not been called for the past three months under the pretext of Covid!
15. The other indisputable factor is, we are notified the road accident rate in Sri Lanka is at an average of about 10 deaths a day. That means about 3600 a year. That is apart from the high death rate that occurs due to diabetics, heart attacks, cancer etc. Up to now its 1363 cases of Covid deaths for the past one and a half year.
The question is all these succumb to the Vaccine Promotion Project that has been launched to make profits for pharmaceutical companies which I think is a RED HERRING in the given situation.
I would say that this attempt to create a “vaccination culture” that did not exist in this country was a so-called “pilot project” of the so-called “world experts” in planning and policymaking.
I think the failure of the media to bring to the notice of the people of this country, articles in this regard, the deliberate failure to draw the attention of the international analysis of alternative scholars and intellectuals, who interpret the Covid and the Vaccine, is a violation of the right of the people to information.
It seems that we are unknowingly activating the fear of arresting, imprisoning and prosecuting alternative ideologies.
I do not think it is necessary to give examples of such incidents here.
The covid will be over once all the vaccines USA produced is sold and they make huge profits
Keep away from the popular propaganda,
Now open your eyes,
I hope the Unions have the courage to say “the Emperor has no cloths”.