UPDATE (10 November 2021): Coles has opted not to follow Woolworths in requiring all employees be vaccinated, instead relying on health orders in some states, the Daily Mail reports.
Company leaders on Wednesday outlined how they are encouraging staff to be vaccinated but stopping short of announcing health mandates.
Australia’s supermarket giants are joining forces against the unvaccinated by requiring their more than 250,000 employees to be double-vaccinated as a requirement for keeping their jobs.
The “no vax, no job” mandate implemented by Woolworths, Coles, and Aldi will mean all employees in stores, distribution centres, and support offices must be “fully vaccinated” to continue working.
“If a team member chooses not to be vaccinated without a valid exemption, we’ll review their ongoing employment and it will likely lead to termination,” a Woolworths spokesperson said.
“Everyone has the right to their personal choice, and we respect that, but we have an obligation to make the workplace as safe as possible and that’s what this policy is all about.”
Coles chief executive Steven Cain said the company owes it to their vaccinated employees to ensure “as many of their colleagues as possible also do their bit by getting the jab.”
Aldi chief executive Tom Daunt said it’s the company’s view that, apart from “very few exceptions, every Australian should get vaccinated.”
“Our employees deserve to come to work every day with the comfort and confidence that they are in the safest possible environment,” he said.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the move will bring the three supermarket giants in line with an increasing number of corporates who have threatened their employees with termination if they refuse to be injected with a COVID-19 vaccination.
Other corporations include Telstra, Qantas, BHP, Westpac, and CBA.
In response to the increasing mandates, a petition was established calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, along with the supermarket giants, to end their divisive policies which “remove our basic human rights to work.”
“This is a Human Rights issue, and no person should be threatened to take any medication or medical treatment in fear of losing their job,” said the creator of the petition, Milan Maksimovic.
Maksimovic, an independent political activist and humanitarian worker said: “No Jab, No Job” policies are dividing the nation and removing Australians’ basic human rights.
“In a free and democratic world, everyone should have a free choice to decide, based on their circumstances and medical history, what medication we should take,” Maksimovic said.
“This is a very dangerous precedent for medical practice. Where do we draw the line? Where are our rights to protect the privacy of our medical records?”
Maksimovic told Caldron Pool: “Data from many countries shows that the current vaccines cannot completely protect from infection or transmission and the side effect percentage is slightly higher than the infection rate.
“We need to think much clearer about this pandemic, which is taking away our freedoms, but not removing the risk.”
You can sign the petition to “Stop Mandatory Vaccines for Employees” here.