Virgin Australia to make vaccines mandatory for airline staff

Virgin Australia to make vaccines mandatory for airline staff
‘It is clear that vaccination is the only way back to normal freedom of movement,’ says CEO

Virgin Australia is the latest airline to push for vaccination being mandatory for its staff.

The carrier confirmed it had proposed requiring front-line, customer-facing employees to be fully vaccinated by 15 November.

Office staff would have until 31 March 2022 to get jabbed.

Australia’s second biggest airline is currently consulting unions and workers before announcing its final policy.

“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, in person time with family, friends and colleagues,” said the airline’s CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka.

“The majority of our team at Virgin Australia are already vaccinated, and we will be listening to our team members to ensure we find the best fit policy for our organisation.

”We know that some team members have questions and concerns about vaccinations. Through an internal campaign of education with qualified experts, we aim to inform and assure as many of our team members as possible.“

The carrier said it would deal with workers who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons on a “case-by-case basis”.

Virgin Australia is following in the footsteps of the country’s flag carrier, Qantas, which announced mandatory vaccination for staff earlier this month.

According to new rules, Qantas’s customer-facing team members – pilots, cabin crew and airport staff – must be fully vaccinated by mid-November.

Remaining colleagues have until the end of March 2022 to receive both doses.

“We provide an essential service, so this will help guard against the disruptions that can be caused by just one positive Covid case shutting down a freight facility or airport terminal,” said chief executive Alan Joyce in a statement.

In a poll of its 22,000 staff, Qantas found that 89 per cent of respondents had already been vaccinated or were planning to be.

Furthermore, around three quarters of staff thought it should be mandatory.

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