A high rate of vaccination is critical for Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mining and Energy Union encourages members to get vaccinated when they are able, subject to medical advice from their doctor.
We do not support mandatory vaccination in mining and energy workplaces; nor is it reasonably practicable to expect these workers, not on the front line of fighting COVID to be compulsorily required to be fully vaccinated.
Decisions about mandatory vaccination for any group of workers are made by health authorities and not by individual employers or employer associations.
The Federal Government’s vaccine rollout has been poorly handled. People have been subjected to mixed messages and misinformation about vaccines, access and supply have been patchy and the legal rights and responsibilities of employers and employees have not been made clear. This has created unnecessary anxiety among some workers.
Our Members are entitled to a safe workplace. Consistent with their legal obligations, employers in our industries must implement a range of controls to ensure that our Members are not exposed to COVID-19 at work.
Mining and energy employers should continue to:
Consult with workers through their Unions and safety representatives regarding COVID controls including vaccinations.
Provide education and paid leave to support and encourage employees to get vaccinated, including implementing employer sponsored incentive schemes.
Recognise that some workers are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.
Encourage and support vaccination programs in the communities that host their operations.