Union members understand the power of Solidarity. Solidarity is hope over fear. Everyone who can get a vaccine and does stands in solidarity with their family and community.
United Workers Union has always supported Australia’s vaccination program based on advice by Australian health professionals, and we continue to listen to the advice of health professionals as the experts through this process.
Our view is that a strong nationwide vaccination program is the only way Australia can get the Covid-19 pandemic under control, protect the lives of vulnerable Australians, and for many around the country – get out of lockdown. For vaccinations mandated by public health orders, workers need to vaccinate in order to protect themselves and those in their care.
It must be said that the failure of the Federal Government’s vaccine rollout has left United Workers Union members exposed and at risk from Covid-19. For example, aged care workers were supposed to be vaccinated at aged care facilities within the first three months of vaccinations being launched.
The Federal Government has failed to give consistent information or support to workers about vaccinations. This has allowed dangerous misinformation to spread that ignores the science and our experts. But our job as a union is to be collective, and to do what is right to protect everyone. UWU members have stepped up to protect each other and their communities again and again throughout this pandemic.
Where our union has surveyed or spoken to members about being vaccinated, an overwhelming majority say they want everyone who can get vaccinated to get vaccinated.
Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic. Where a company considers introducing mandated vaccinations, UWU expects that employers will consult with workers about vaccination and how it occurs, as they must consult over any workplace health and safety issue. We will support members, elected delegates and trained health and safety reps to ensure this happens.
We also expect that companies will properly support workers to access vaccines. Support means paid time to be vaccinated, paid time for any adverse effects, paid time to consult their health professional, and a case-by-case approach that recognises some workers will have a genuine medical reason to not be vaccinated.
Every worker has a right to a safe workplace, and that includes being safe from Covid-19. Members of United Workers Union will continue to stand up and take collective action for the safety of all workers and our communities throughout this time.