Over 250,000 workers across Australia’s major supermarket chains have been told that they must be fully vaccinated or they will lose their jobs.
Coles and Woolworths – considered ‘essential services’ by the government during the pandemic – have announced mandatory vaccination for all workers. Aldi plans to follow suit in the next few weeks.
Woolworths unveiled their nationwide mandatory vaccination schedule a short time ago, with CEO Brad Banducci explaining that the decision was made after his team reviewed the ‘best medical advice’.
“We have 170,000 team members across our stores, distribution centres and support offices, and more than 1200 retail stores. With each store welcoming an average 20,000 customers a week, a single team member can come into contact with quite literally thousands of people in the course of a normal working week,” said Banducci.
“As we enter the next phase of the pandemic and learn to live with COVID-19, we need to strengthen our workplace safety settings and vaccinations are clearly a key part of this.”
Customers do not need to be vaccinated. Staff have until March 31, 2022 at the latest to comply.
Despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison promising that Covid vaccination would remain voluntary for Australians unless they are in a particularly vulnerable industry like Aged Care, he has done nothing to stop state premiers and businesses from discriminating against unvaccinated staff.
Coles have made a similar statement, and will sack those staff members who do not comply, regardless of how long they have worked there.
“We have encouraged and supported our team members to access vaccination as soon as they become eligible, to reduce the risk of infection for themselves, their colleagues and their families,” said Coles Group CEO Steven Cain.
The Northern Territory, Western Australia and Victoria have released strict health orders that mandate vaccination for most workers, including those at supermarket chains in contradiction to the Prime Minister’s public comments.
In addition, Coles has implemented that employees in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory must also be fully vaccinated by December 17, even though Premier Dominic Perrottet has said restrictions on the unvaccinated will end starting December 1. Employees in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania remain except for the moment.
Tom Daunt, Aldi’s chief executive, said that every Australian should be getting vaccinated with ‘very few exceptions’.
“Our employees deserve to come to work every day with the comfort and confidence that they are in the safest possible environment. Giving our people the safest work environment is simply the right thing to do,” said Daunt.
Other large Australian corporations have also brought in mandatory vaccination policies with companies inside the Wesfarmers group such as Bunnings and Officeworks planning to make proof of vaccination a requirement for future employees.
This marks the establishment of a permanent state of discrimination against unvaccinated Australians who are increasingly facing unemployment unless they comply.