Qantas’ decision to make vaccinations mandatory demonstrates the failure of the Federal Government to show leadership on this issue.
Emeline Gaske, Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union said workers were disappointed that a vacuum in political leadership had left these decisions to individual employers.
“Members received an email from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce this morning advising that it will be a requirement for operational employees to be vaccinated against COVID19 from mid-November, and for corporate employees to be vaccinated by March 2022,” said Ms Gaske.
“We are disappointed that the Federal Government has not properly addressed the issue of mandatory vaccinations in workplaces and is instead leaving it up to individual employers to determine their own approaches.”
She said that failure had extended to the lack of access and support for at-risk workers to receive a vaccination.
“The biggest problem with the COVID19 vaccine rollout has been workers actually being able to access vaccinations.
“Everyone has had the experience of having to shop around for a doctor or vaccination centre and wait weeks for your appointment.
“We hope that the increased amounts of vaccine arriving in Australia in the coming weeks and months will mean that workers are able to get increased access to vaccinations.”
Ms Gaske said the ASU has been calling on all employers to provide their employees with paid time off work to access vaccinations.
“No one should lose a shift or pay to go and get vaccinated.
“We are meeting with Qantas early next week to commence consultation about their new policy and will keep members up to date with developments.”