The flag carrier of Australia, Qantas Airways, announced its decision to impose a mandatory employee vaccination. The airline will implement a requirement for all of its staff to get fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by March 31, 2022.
The requirement for all 22,000 Qantas Airways employees will come into force gradually. First, the staff members who have more frequent contact with passengers will be required to get fully vaccinated by November 15, 2021. This includes employees such as cabin crew and flight crew members, as well as airport workers. The remaining workers, namely the backroom staff, will be required to receive their last vaccine shot by March 31, 2022.
However, the new requirement will have some exceptions. For instance, the order will not affect those employees for whom it is not recommended to get the vaccine due to health conditions, or other factors.
Qantas counted that around 60% of its employees have already been fully vaccinated against the virus and approximately three-quarters have already taken at least the first shot of the vaccine.
Speaking to Australian media on August 18, 2021, Chief Executive Officer of Qantas Airways Alan Joyce outlined that the move would be taken to safeguard the staff from the virus as well as protect the airline’s customers and the communities the company flies to.
“One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day,” Joyce explained. “[..] Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important, and I think it’s the kind of safety leadership people would expect from us.”
Local media reports that the air carrier surveyed around half of its workforce and found out that the vast majority of the respondents supported the new requirement.
However, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) expressed the opposite opinion on the matter. In social media, the organization claimed that Qantas Airways had “not properly consulted their workforce” about the vaccination mandate.
“They should consult with the workforce on their plans. It’s a better approach to work together rather than causing conflict in workplaces,” the ACTU argued in a post.
Qantas have not properly consulted their workforce when it comes to the vaccine mandate. They should consult with the workforce on their plans. It’s a better approach to work together rather causing conflict in workplaces.@sallymcmanus on @abcmelbourne #ausunions #auspol— Australian Unions (@unionsaustralia) August 18, 2021