Supermarket boss vows not to impose mandatory Covid-19 vaccine
A supermarket boss has vowed he will not force staff to get the Covid-19 vaccine unless the government dictates it.
Drakes Supermarkets director John-Paul Drake said in an online post that he would “encourage our staff to be vaccinated” but unless the government made the jab mandatory he would let staff make up their own minds.
While the South Australian independent retail chain had followed the health department’s directions, including the use of masks and QR codes, Mr Drake drew the line on mandating the vaccine like some other companies had recently announced.
“Although we encourage our staff to be vaccinated, we accept that we live in a free democratic country and we all have a right of choice,” Mr Drake said.
“However, should the government impose a mandated Covid-19 vaccination direction for the supermarket retail industry, we would certainly abide by this regulation.
“My position on this debate is clear: while the choice is still available, I am not going to put my team in a position where they have to choose between autonomy over their bodies and their ability to earn a living.”
More than 800 people out of a 5500 strong workforce are part of the “10 year club”, having worked for Drakes Supermarkets for at least a decade.
“If my team chooses not to be vaccinated — something that doesn’t affect their performance or ability to do their jobs properly — I 100 per cent respect and support their decision. Loyalty is a two-way street,” Mr Drake said.
“If our health experts believe it’s in the best interests of public health that we’re all inoculated, then they can go ahead and mandate it.
“But right now, I have a choice and I choose to support my teams’ right to choose.”
Woolworths and Aldi are requiring all staff to be vaccinated, while Coles is only enforcing it for workers in some jurisdictions where it is mandated by governments.
Qantas, Telstra, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and BHP are among some of the other major companies to announce vaccine mandates.
Originally published as Supermarket boss vows not to impose mandatory Covid-19 vaccine
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