Saleyards, meat and dairy processors urge workforce to get the jab

Saleyards, meat and dairy processors urge workforce to get the jab

Coronavirus
JAB APPROACH: Saleyards and processors have their say about whether the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory for their workers.

JAB APPROACH: Saleyards and processors have their say about whether the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory for their workers.

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Victorian saleyard operators and dairy processors are strongly urging their workforce to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but are stopping short of mandating the jab.

Unlike fruit packing company SPC which has outlined a mandatory vaccine timeline for workers, some Victorian-based dairy companies say they will not force their staff to do the same.

Fonterra Australia's general manager for health, safety and wellbeing Kathy Antoniadis said the processor would leave it to their employee's discretion to do what they thought was right.

"We strongly encourage our people to get vaccinated but we are not making it mandatory," she said.

"We recognise some people are unable to be vaccinated for medical or other reasons."

Meanwhile, other meat processors like abattoir Greenham Gippsland at Moe is remaining tight-lipped about any plans to enforce a mandatory jab across its workforce.

"At this stage, we are not in position to comment about this," a spokesperson said.

The Midfield group declined to comment.

In the west, the operator of Mortlake's Western Victoria Livestock Exchange said it was guided by compliance with public health orders.

"Outcross is strongly recommending that our workforce get the jab, falling short of making it mandatory," Outcross Agri-Services owner Tom Newsome, who employs 90 staff, said.

"We expect there will be a time where we cannot employ staff that are not vaccinated, where staff are required to travel ... interstate to perform their duties.

He pointed to Queensland which said essential supply chain workers entering the state must have had their first jab to cross the border.

"We work in 25 saleyards nationwide from Roma in Queensland to Hamilton and Mount Gambier in South Australia," he said.

"I guess it's an early warning and while we expected (mandatory vaccine rules) to happen soon, we saw it as of this week."

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