Qantas Demands Staff Get Jab as Local Banks Choose Softer Touch
Qantas Airways Ltd. demanded all staff get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or risk being fired as authorities across Australia struggle to suppress fast-spreading outbreaks of the delta variant. The country’s banks are opting for a softer approach.
Front-line workers including cabin crew, pilots and airport workers must be inoculated by Nov. 15, Qantas said in a statement Wednesday. The deadline for the rest of the workforce is March 31 next year.
The airline follows United Airlines Holdings Inc. in requiring employee vaccinations, though other U.S. carriers have stopped short of making jabs mandatory. Qantas’ recovery from the pandemic, which had been one of the quickest anywhere in the industry, has been upended by delta-driven lockdowns across much of Australia, including Sydney and Melbourne.
“It’s clear that vaccinations are the only way to end the cycle of lockdowns and border closures,” Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said.
“One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day. Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important,” Joyce said.
Meanwhile, Australian banks and financial institutions aren’t forcing staff to get vaccines, but they are giving employees time off to receive their jabs. Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp. are also offering corporate vaccination clinics for staff, while National Australia Bank Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. are working on similar programs.
Thousands of aviation workers supporting international flights in the Australian states of New South Wales and South Australia, as well as New Zealand, are already required to be vaccinated by those jurisdictions, Qantas said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.