There has been a lot of discussion about the position the union should take on COVID-19 vaccination, and we’ve received a few questions from members like ‘will the union protect me if I refuse to get vaccinated? The Union’s position is:
- Our union exists to protect and advance the collective interests of our members. The interests of all union members collectively, whether each one is vaccinated or not, is in having a safe work environment. We will be safest from COVID-19 where staff and other members of the community within which we work are vaccinated to the extent possible.
- Employers should, in the first place, encourage all staff to be vaccinated. Employers must provide paid vaccination leave.
- The ASU will support decisions about mandatory vaccination for any group of workers that are made by State health authorities. These decisions should not be left to individual employers or employer associations.
- All ASU members are entitled to a safe workplace. As with any serious hazard, employers in our industries must implement a range of controls to ensure that our members are not exposed to COVID-19 at work.
Where an individual employer is proposing to mandate vaccinations we expect that they have:
- have exhausted efforts to encourage staff to be vaccinated,
- consulted with the union, HSRs and employees,
- permit exceptions for genuine and compelling medical circumstances and where access to a recommended/appropriate vaccine is not reasonably available, and
- ensure that there is no unlawful discrimination against people with a protected attribute.
- The Union will work constructively with employers to uphold the health and safety of our members and the community to minimise the risks associated with COVID-19.
The ASU Branch Executive has adopted a position and answers to a list of Frequently Asked Questions which you can read in full here.
The ASU Branch Executive also made a statement regarding the events of last week in Melbourne, which you can read here.
ASU Conference Opportunity 13-14 October: registrations open now!
This year’s Annual Delegates Conference is being held online from 12noon-3.30pm each day. Themed Essential, Safe and Secure, it will provide an opportunity to virtually get together to discuss workplace issues since we last met. With a great line up of speakers and sessions, both delegates and members are urged to check out the agenda and register here. Limited spaces are available for members who are not yet delegates but keen to get more active in union events too, make sure you register today!
Lisa Darmanin Billy King