Air NZ wants to vaccinate more workers than Govt requires

Source: 1 NEWS

Air New Zealand wants to "broaden" the number of its workers required to be vaccinated

From 10am Air New Zealand bookings will open with passengers having to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival in NZ.

In an email sent to staff on Thursday afternoon, the airline said it had been in consultation over a proposal to do exactly that. 

"The Executive has decided to proceed with broadening the vaccine requirement to strengthen our health and safety controls and protect employees from the most serious consequences of contracting Covid-19 in the workplace."

In the email, sent by chief people officer Nikki Dines, the airline said it was "still taking impacted employees through what this may mean for them", so asked colleagues to be mindful.

1News understands this means potentially 6300 employees are now required to be vaccinated. 

This figure comprises potentially 4000 staff on top of the 2300 required to be jabbed by the Government. 

It means there are still staff employed by Air NZ who are not mandated to be vaccinated. 

In a statement to 1News, CEO Greg Foran said "proceeding with broadening the vaccine mandate is the right thing to do". 

It had come after considering feedback from employees and unions, he said, along with a health and safety risk review. 

"Our people have been on the frontline through the pandemic, helping Kiwis get home and keeping goods moving and, as a result, have a greater risk of coming into contact with Covid-19. We are always looking at how we can provide the best level of protection for employees," Foran said. 

"The Delta variant has changed the playing field significantly and the health and safety protocols that protected our people in the past are now less effective.

"Extensive PPE, isolation and testing have helped protect our people, but we need another layer of protection which the Covid vaccines provide. We have a duty of care and a responsibility under health and safety legislation to keep our people safe."

In making its decision, Foran said the airline had "balanced the need to move swiftly to address the increased safety risks created by Delta" with the need to understand the perspectives of its employees and their unions.

"We don’t underestimate the impact this decision will have on our people, and we won’t be commenting further on which areas and roles are impacted until we’ve worked through the policy with the employees involved and the unions they are part of."

More information on the airline's broadened vaccine mandate is expected on Monday.