Countdown mandates vaccines for staff

Countdown on Ferry Rd. Photo: Google
File photo
Countdown will require all 21,000 of its staff to be vaccinated by January 10.

After a two-week consultation and feedback review period, the supermarket giant has confirmed it has decided to require vaccination for all roles across the business.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown's general manager, corporate affairs, safety and sustainability, said the policy would apply to staff at its distribution centres, stores and support offices.

First Union retail organiser Ben Peterson said a small group of people - fewer than 2 percent - were affected by Countdown's new vaccine mandate.

He told Newstalk ZB's Kate Hawkesby they were "not hugely enthused" but many were not anti-vax - they just hadn't got round to getting the jab yet and the new mandate was giving them the impetus to get it.

It had given some people an impetus but others had been trying to avoid the conversation and now were having to engage.

"It's a smaller group of people than you'd think."

The union's approach was to try to avoid anyone losing their job. Some people needed specialist advice while others were happy to get vaccinated after, for example, getting surgery or finishing a course of medication.

But for others it was a more complex conversation, Peterson said.

"People are going to make choices. As long as they're making them on the basis of good and real information, that's people's right."

The union wanted the company to look at whether they could move those people to lower-risk roles or if there were other options available.

And he said with the expectations on supermarket workers now much higher than they were pre-pandemic, it was time to look at better remuneration for them as well.




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