• Prioritising health and safety of staff: SPC CEO Robert Giles
    Prioritising health and safety of staff: SPC CEO Robert Giles

Work Safe Victoria has cleared food packaging operation SPC of any concerns that it had not properly consulted with its staff in its Covid-19 vaccine mandate consultation process.

SPC said it was “shameful” that “someone, most likely within AMWU” tried to stop the process “on a technicality”.

SPC was the first company in the country to mandate vaccinations for its staff, and has since released its Vaccine Response Kit online for other businesses to use. Since then, on Friday, the Victorian government has mandated Covid vaccination for authorised workers, which includes “all manufacturing”.

Work Safe Victoria was checking SPC was in accordance with its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

According to SPC the concerns raised by Work Safe Victoria were identical to the criticisms of SPC’s consultation programme raised by the AMWU, and ACTU, soon after it announced its mandate that all staff be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Since the AMWU released its statement SPC says it has “firmly rejected” the AMWU’s assertion that its staff were not properly consulted in its vaccine mandate.

The company says that despite the ongoing outbreak of Covid in Shepparton, it welcomed an inspection from Worksafe inspectors at its production facility, and says the result of today’s report should be regarded as a win for all Australian businesses who are implementing Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

Robert Giles, CEO at SPC said, “We value our positive relationship with Work Safe, and their inspectors are held in high regard by our managers and representatives in Shepparton. Up to 70 per cent of our workforce and 30 per cent of the Shepparton community were in isolation at the time. It is shameful that while our local resources were stretched – keeping our people informed and safe while also delivering care packages to their homes – that someone, most likely within the AMWU, sought fit to test us on a technicality rather than supporting our efforts.”

Last week SPC released its Covid-19 Vaccine Response Plan, to provide Australian businesses with the resources to guide them in their own Covid vaccination mandate plans, since when it has been downloaded 1500 times from interested businesses across a number of sectors.

The company says it applauds last week’s Victorian Government announcements “that have ensured that companies like ours can mandate vaccinations” to ensure our staff are safe and Food Manufacturing is secured.

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