Mining giant Anglo moves ahead on jabs for 5500 Queensland workers

Anglo American is moving ahead with plans for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations of 5500 workers at its Queensland sites, including its coal mines, despite BHP’s similar plans being rejected last week by the Fair Work Commission.

Dec 08, 2021, updated Dec 08, 2021
Anglo 5500 workers in Australia are facing mandatory vaccinations

Anglo 5500 workers in Australia are facing mandatory vaccinations

The mining company said it was concerned by the prospect of an increased number of cases in coming months as Queensland opens its borders.

Anglo American has told workers of its intention to require vaccination against COVID-19, as a condition of entry to all of its Australian sites, offices and camps, from March 1, 2022, but a final decision had not yet been made.

The coal mining union, the CFMEU, is opposed to mandatory vaccinations when there were no public health orders in place and district president Stephen Smyth pointed to last week’s Fair Work Commission ruling against BHP’s plans.

He said that ruling, which rejected BHP’s mandatory vaccinations policy, reinforced the rights of workers to be consulted over issues affecting their health and safety.

But Anglo said a final decision on mandatory vaccinations would only occur after a further period of consultation. It has already spent several months in discussions with the workforce.

“These processes, together with expert medical advice, determined that vaccination is the best way to protect our workforce and communities from COVID-19,” the company said.

Anglo’s chief executive for Australia Tyler Mitchelson, said it was “very likely” COVID-19 cases would increase throughout Queensland over coming months and the company believed it had an obligation to help protect the more than 5500 workers in Queensland.

“Vaccination is the best way to help keep our people and communities safe,” Mitchelson said.

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“Many of our workforce live in nearby local communities, but there are also people who commute to work from Mackay, Rockhampton and other regional centres as well as south east Queensland.

“We recognise that once COVID-19 cases do start to occur more frequently in Queensland, the risk of transmission due to people movements will be higher.

“We understand there are certain cases where people cannot get vaccinated, and we would work with these individuals to assess their individual circumstances under an exemption process within our draft policy.”



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