ETU QLD & NT statement on COVID Vaccines and the workplace

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) Qld & NT encourages all Members to consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their colleagues, family, and community against COVID-19. The Union supports individual choice and informed consent when it comes to vaccinations and opposes mandatory vaccination policies and laws.

“We believe people should be able to have the opportunity to make an informed choice in consultation with their GP,” says ETU State Secretary Peter Ong. “We have Members who are being forced to make the decision between losing employment and getting a vaccine that hasn’t been recommended for them.

“We have people who’ve been on a waiting list for months after following medical advice about which vaccine they are eligible for and when. They are still waiting, and now many of them have to make the choice to go against medical advice to be allowed to work.”

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young stated in June that those under 40 were not to get the AstraZeneca jab, saying "I do not want under-40s to get AstraZeneca," at a press conference broadcast to media and Facebook.
There has since been wildly varying health advice from Federal and State Governments, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), and the media regarding suitable vaccines for certain demographics. The advice continues to change as the situation in New South Wales deteriorates and spreads to other states and territories.

“We would have never been in this position if it weren’t for the inadequacy of the Federal Government,” says Mr Ong. “The vaccine rollout has been mismanaged from the start, and the Prime Minister contributed to confusion by flip flopping on vaccine advice for under 60s, and even attempting to influence ATAGI’s advice in July.”

Border restrictions are impacting ETU Members who work in Queensland and live in New South Wales, who, from Friday, will have to have had one dose of the vaccine to get to work. “For those Members who don’t have access to their recommended vaccine, they have a tough decision to make,” says Peter Ong.

“And with the federal government refusing to reinstate JobKeeper, many of these workers are on their own. The Queensland Government made disaster payments available during the Delta outbreak early this month, but the Morrison Government is refusing to offer financial assistance to Australians whose work is impacted by COVID, which means a lot of people have no choice but to do what they need to do to get to work.”

“The abysmal leadership from the Federal Government continues to negatively impact Australians. Morrison has a lot to answer for in regards to the vaccine rollout and how many Australians are struggling with mental and physical health, and financially,” says Mr Ong.

ENDS

For more information, please call Peter Ong on 0419 721 046 or Kristin Perissinotto on 0448 633 858.