New Zealand fires nine border workers who refused Covid vaccine

Abbianca Makoni
·2-min read
<p>Nine workers were fired after refusing to take the jab</p> (PA Wire)

Nine workers were fired after refusing to take the jab

(PA Wire)

A group of border workers have reportedly been fired by New Zealand’s customs agency after they refused to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

The country, which has vaccinated 85 per cent of its frontline customs staff with a second dose, implemented a new act which required those working for government agencies at the border to receive the vaccine by the end of April.

But according to The Straits Times, nine workers who refused to get the jab were fired on the eve of the rule going into force.

The firing came after Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said in February that the government would not be making the vaccine compulsory for frontline staff, and those who refused it would be moved into other roles.

But no other work could be found to redeploy the nine workers, who were in fixed term employment at the maritime border, Jacinda Funnell, Customs’ deputy chief executive for people and capability, told the Guardian.

She told the paper that customs had been discussing options with staff since the beginning of March.

But the employees were then told that “options for redeployment were very limited due to no other Customs functions existing in the area.”

One of the workers, who refused to be named out of fear, said she was “devastated” to be sacked and “frustrated” by what she says was a lack of consultation by the agency, according to Stuff.

The move has caused uproar on social media and E tÅ« union said on their website they did not “support mandatory vaccination and will not tolerate discrimination against workers who choose not to vaccinate.”

The news comes after the New Zealand Defence Force threatened to fire service members who refused to get a Covid-19 vaccination back in April.

In correspondence to staff, the chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Kevin Short, had said: “Electing to not meet the baseline immunisation readiness criteria will result in a review of an individual’s future service,” reported RNZ

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