No jab, no job: Virgin vax plan takes flight
VIRGIN Australia will force all team members to be vaccinated against Covid-19 with the major airline describing the jab as the “only solution” to lifting Australia out of the crisis plaguing the country.
The company said it would consult with relevant unions and employees, with all frontline crew members expected to be jabbed by the middle of November, according to the proposal.
The requirement will extend to office-based workers who would be required to be vaccinated by the end of March, to “protect the health and safety of our workforce, and in turn the wider Australian community and everyone’s way of life”.
The final policy was expected to be agreed and enacted next month, with those unable to be vaccinated due to a medical condition to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said recent exposure of aircrew staff to passengers and through airports had “demonstrated that it only takes one person to create a knock-on effect which creates significant impacts for our employees and the community more broadly”.
“It is clear that vaccination is the only way back to normal freedom of movement and the richness in life that comes from spending meaningful, inperson time with family, friends and colleagues,” she said.
“Vaccination is the only solution to the situation Australia currently finds itself in, and something we have determined is vital to keep our team safe, given the high public exposure most of them encounter day to day.”
The tough stance from Virgin follows rival Qantas, which announced a similar policy recently. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline’s new vaccination policy will provide a “safeguard” for employees “but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to”.
“One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day,” Mr Joyce said. “It’s clear that vaccinations are the only way to end the cycle of lockdowns and border closures and for a lot of Qantas and Jetstar employees that means getting back to work again.”
Both Qantas and Virgin want frontline staff – cabin crew, pilots and airport workers – to be fully vaccinated by November 15.