COMPANIES & STRATEGIES - TRADES

Reactions to Pimco's announcement

Divergent opinions on compulsory employee vaccination



The illegality of Pimco's measure to make the vaccine compulsory for its employees seems to be unanimously supported. (Photo: SIP/Emmanuel Claude)

The illegality of Pimco's measure to make the vaccine compulsory for its employees seems to be unanimously supported. (Photo: SIP/Emmanuel Claude)

Imposing covid vaccinations on employees have been contested by trade unions, HR managers and employers, who have chosen to leave the decision to staff discretion. This comes after American asset management company, Pimco, announced compulsory vaccinations for employees.

Reaction continues to flood in on the announcement by American asset management company Pimco, to impose vaccination as a condition for returning to the office for its 11 staff members based in Luxembourg. According to lawyer Guy Castegnaro, an acknowledged specialist in labour law, the move is quite simply illegal. 

"Employers cannot force their employees to be vaccinated or demand information on the subject”, says Luxembourg Bankers' Association (ABBL). In addition, Eddy Girardi, coordinator of banking union Aleba, advises employees who may be affected to contact the unions.

Eleswherem, the Mondorf spa resort has already "asked" employees to be vaccinated and the Centre hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) is imposing vaccination mandate on its new recruits. In the latter case, Castegnaro indicates that there are still "many legal uncertainties".

Unanimity against compulsory vaccination

"There is no legal basis for compulsory vaccination," says Frédéric Krier, a member of the OGBL executive board. "We are not in favour of making it compulsory either, because of the consequences for those who refuse. It should remain voluntary, even if we are in favour of a large number of people being vaccinated.”

Christophe Knebeler, head of social policy at the LCGB union, adds that there is no justification for such a measure. “The only way out of the pandemic is vaccination and the goal must be achieved by convincing, and not by coercing” or exerting pressure, he says. Allowing only employees who have been vaccinated to remove their masks in a meeting would be illegal.  Prior to the distribution of self-tests in companies, tripartite discussions took place and “no one insisted on mandatory vaccination or testing,” he adds.

Not a current issue for the UEL

Jean-Paul OlingerJean-Paul Olinger, director of the umbrella organisation UEL, confirms “it is not a subject for the moment", even if, among employers, "there are people for and against it".  Olinger says he would prefer to wait for the situation to evolve, but envisages "a simplified Covidcheck" following the end of the telework era in order to “not to take away rights from the vaccinated because others are not."

Not to take away rights from the vaccinated because others are not.
Jean-Paul Olinger

Jean-Paul OlingerDirectorUEL

OGBL and LCGB are currently unaware of any cases similar to Pimco. "I hope that this will not give others any ideas," says Christophe Knebeler.

Professional meetings under the Covidcheck regime

For companies, mandatory internal meetings in the CovidCheck era could be used as a "disguised" obligation to vaccinate, test or show recovery from covid. 

"It's a sensitive subject," admits Julie Noirhomme, co-chair of the HR community POG. Despite this, its members have not expressed a desire to make the vaccine mandatory.

For a company based abroad, its subsidiary has a “duty to inform its headquarters,” and to stay in line with the directions of the health directorate, she advises. 

This article was originally published in French on Paperjam.lu. It has been translated and edited for Delano.lu