The vaccination rate in Australia has been low. Only 1.3% of the Australian population have been fully vaccinated against and approximately 17% have had their first dose. Some experts suggest the population will not be fully vaccinated until the end of 2022.
Citing the renewed lockdown in Victoria as an example, FSU National Secretary Sis. Julia Angrisano said that bank retail workers have once again put themselves, their family and the community at risk while providing essential service during the lockdown. It is therefore important that as many workers could get vaccinated as soon as possible with the encouragement of employers.
The Finance Sector Union is urging all financial institutions in Australia to provide two days of paid leave for bank workers to help increase vaccination rate, an essential element to building back economic normalcy.
The FSU has written to over 60 finance sector organisations requesting 2 days paid leave for staff to get vaccinated. They have also launched a campaign targeting at their members to take a pledge to get vaccinated as soon as they possibly can. See the pledge here at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/pledge-4-vaccine-leave/
In the first 24 hours of this campaign, over 1200 people had taken the pledge.
FSU reported that several employers have responded positively to consider the request. Australia’s second biggest bank, Westpac Bank has announced its support for the union’s claim, and they will give their staff a half-day’s paid leave for each vaccine dose.
UNI Apro Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya praised the FSU initiative, saying, “The essential role of finance services workers is undeniable.
“Their contributions should be acknowledged and paid back with practical steps that don’t actually cost employers very much. I am very glad to hear that those employers are responding well to the call.
UNI Apro strongly encourage all affiliates to speak with employers and governments to take a coordinated approach. The faster the workers are vaccinated, the faster they will avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of the coronavirus”.
UNI Apro supports the FSU initiative and is pleased to share a draft Paid Vaccine Leave clause which can be adopted by affiliates in their negotiations.