AUGUST 5, 2021 – SPC has failed to properly consult with workers and their union over their demand to make vaccination mandatory for essential food workers by November, say the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU).
The company are required by law to consult over work health and safety and any planned major change.
The union say SPC’s planned timeline for workers to be vaccinated - to be booked in by September and vaccinated by November - is unrealistic as some working people are still not eligible or otherwise able to access the vaccine.
The AMWU backs vaccination but SPC’s plans to call for mandatory vaccination of workers needs to come with proper consultation.
A move by SPC to say workers could be banned from onsite work if they’re not vaccinated by November is discriminatory to workers who may have specific health concerns that may prevent them from being vaccinated.
Food workers should not be forced to bear the brunt of the Morrison Government’s failed vaccine roll out.
The AMWU say SPC offering paid vaccination leave is a positive step, but the broader questions around timeline and banning workers lacks proper consultation.
Quotes attributable to AMWU National President Andrew Dettmer:
“The SPC are not showing workers that they are genuinely willing to consult with them over a planned vaccine rollout.
“The issue isn’t people’s willingness to get the vaccine, it’s accessibility. The responsibility for the Morrison Government’s failing rollout shouldn’t be shifted onto the shoulders of working people.
“If workers are expected to get jabs in their arms, then we need to ensure the true barriers are removed.
“Mandating vaccination in workplaces needs to be based on the advice of health professionals and a proper risk assessment – not just a poorly consulted plan by bosses.”
Quotes attributable to AMWU Assistant State Secretary Victoria Jason Hefford (Food and Confectionery Division)
“These essential food workers carried us through a pandemic and have shown extreme willingness to work together, but the company had failed to properly consult with them on mandatory vaccination.
“The company’s timeline is unrealistic – not all workers will be eligible for the vaccination.
“Taking away a workers meal ticket because they haven’t had the opportunity to be vaccinated fails to recognise some workers will have specific health advice not to be vaccinated.”
For further comment: Kate Shuttleworth 0447 418 726