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Thousands of workers will HAVE to get a Covid jab or face the sack

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 6/09/2021 Levi Parsons For Daily Mail Australia
Andrew Penn et al. standing in front of a store: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

One of Australia's largest companies is set to impose mandatory Covid vaccinations for thousands of workers in a bid to be on the 'right side of history'.

Telecommunications giant Telstra have proposed about 8,300 of their staff, who regularly come into contact with customers and colleagues, must get their first jab by October 15 and their second by November 15 - or face the sack.

CEO Andy Penn on Monday laid out the plan in an email to the company's 29,000 staff after a week of talks with union bosses and company staff. 

He said exemptions will only be considered on medical grounds, and that workers would need to provide medical evidence. 

The company would then try and find a new position for the worker without customer contact, but if that couldn't be found, they may have to leave.

a person is walking down the street: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Andrew Penn, Andrew Penn are posing for a picture: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

'More than most other companies our teams stretch across the far reaches of Australia - from our cities to remote outback towns,' Mr Penn said in a staff email.

'We are part of these communities and we have an obligation to keep them safe and well - as to protect each other.'

The proposed condition of employment will mainly effect workers in face-to-face roles such as in-store retail staff and technicians who meet with members of the public.

Those working from home will not be required to get the jab.

Video: Ethical concerns as some industries begin mandating COVID vaccines for staff (ABC NEWS)

Ethical concerns as some industries begin mandating COVID vaccines for staff

Mr Penn said mandating vaccinations is an 'important and necessary step' with over 1,000 Covid cases a day in Australia and New South Wales, The ACT and Victoria all living in lockdown. 

'In moments like this we have a choice to be on the right side of history,' Mr Penn said.

'Often that involves finding our courage and taking a stand that may not always be popular with everyone. 

a woman talking on a cell phone: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( a person standing in front of a store: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

'Incentives help, but we need to go a step further to protect each other, the most vulnerable in our communities and the customers we interact with each day.'

One of the major reasons for moving ahead with the vaccine requirement is to shore-up certainty around interstate border travel during times of crisis. 

'As we approach what is typically disaster season in Australia, we hope that having fully vaccinated teams will help us more easily move people across state borders to assist should there be a natural disaster,' Mr Penn said.

While he admits it may be seen as controversial and acknowledges some people may choose not to get vaccinated for personal or medical reasons, the telecom boss says the only exceptions that may be considered would be on medical grounds.

a man standing in front of a computer: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

'In these cases we would ask for appropriate supporting medical evidence to be assessed by an independent medical practitioner, and we would do our best to find a suitable alternative role that does not require vaccination,' he said.

'If we are unable to find another role it may ultimately lead to medical retirement.' 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the federal government will not be mandating vaccine requirement for most sectors, instead handing off the responsibility to individual businesses to make their own decisions.  

Telstra joins companies such as Qantas, Woolworths and canned food producer SPC in making Covid vaccinations a condition of employment. 

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