Sealord is the largest fishing company in the country and Sealord may introduce mandatory Covid-19 vaccines to its employees as part of a shift by the Government from an elimination strategy to one of mitigation.
Nelson-based seafood company, Seafood, has requested feedback on December 3, on a proposal that mandates double and ongoing booster vaccines for all employees on vessels, land-based factory workers, supporting essential employees and in-store sales and marketing team members, and for non-essential staff who must be present when Covid-19 alert levels suggest it.
Doug Paulin, chief executive, stated that the proposal would affect approximately 800 of the 1200 New Zealand employees. The Australian staff have been fully vaccinated.
You can use this tool to check any registered company in Newzealand like White Cross Otahuhu Limited.
Staff in the affected positions would have to be vaccinated within four weeks and again six weeks if they are not exempted by a medical order. Staff who refuse to get vaccinated would be fired after four weeks notice unless they started the process.
Paulin stated that the company's response to the proposal will decide whether or not it can make a decision about mandates before its factories close for Christmas on December 10.
He stated that transmission rates will rise and Covid could reappear within the Nelson region. There is also a greater chance of Covid showing up at our site than we have historically had in this area.
According to a survey, between 60-80% of employees were fully vaccinated. Paulin stated that he felt the company required a higher vaccination rate than 80 percent to protect its employees from greater risk at work and in the community.
Sealord employed a diverse group of workers from its Nelson office and factory workers to crew members. Vaccinations rates followed the national trend with urban workers more likely to get vaccinated than workers in rural areas, he stated.
Paulin stated that some staff had approached him about the possibility of a mandate. They were both for and against it and that he encouraged them to take part in the consultation.
Paulin, who has been fully vaccinated, said that "it's a very emotive subject and I understand it and am conscious of that when we go out to consult on it." "We have to be able to meet the collective needs of all our employees, as well as being considerate of each individual's perspective.
"In my role it is not my actual personal viewpoint that matters. It is legally required to consider all employees who come to work. I make sure that that that risk is as minimal as possible, and that I do everything reasonable to protect them, regardless of their personal preferences.
Sanford, a fellow seafood company, has already implemented a vaccine mandate that requires all crew members to be fully vaccinated starting December 31st. Other large companies, such as Air New Zealand and Auckland Airport have also introduced mandates.
Paulin stated that Sealord, like other primary industries, was in short supply of workers and had approximately 100 vacancies at the moment. He said that his primary concern was the safety and health of the employees, and that any possible implications for the business were secondary.
Sealord is a joint venture of Maori and Japanese company Nissui.