United Airlines ‘right’ to insist on staff vaccines

United Airlines 'right' to insist on staff vaccines
United Airlines says it will fire staff who refuse a vaccine and don't qualify for an exemption. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has said that firing staff who refuse to get a coronavirus vaccine is “just the right thing to do”.

Around 300 of United’s 67,000 US based employees are yet to comply with the strict policy, after an initial deadline of 27 September.

Vaccine hesitancy has been a hugely divisive issue in the United States but President Joe Biden recently made it easier for big companies to take a tougher line.

Mr Kirby says the airline’s strict policy is “about saving lives”.

He adds that when he retires someday, he will look back at this and it will be one of the proudest moments of his career that he had made the tough decision, but the right decision to require vaccines.

Since last week’s deadline, more than 250 staff have complied with United’s policy. A further 2,000 staff have requested an exemption on religious or medical grounds. They have not all been granted, but final numbers won’t be clear until legal processes are resolved.

Any dismissal process could take weeks or months as United Airlines says it would follow agreements with trade unions.

The company’s CEO says his airline’s experience holds a lesson for other companies too which has been applauded by an “awful lot” of customers.

Whilst Mr Kirby is pleased about the influence he has been able to have over his employees there is frustration about the lack of a single global system for recognising the Covid-19 vaccine and test status of passengers.

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