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No jab, no job? Mandatory COVID vaccination could take off in 2021 to keep staff and businesses alive

Pimlico Plumbers Founder and Chairman Charlie Mullins (Right) with Lord Baker in 2018
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Pimlico Plumbers Chairman Charlie Mullins thinks it is a “no brainer” that all his staff should be vaccinated against the coronavirus. He is willing to go one step further and encourage mandatory vaccination against the virus written into all new and eventually existing employees’ contracts.

But can a jab be mandatory?

“Just to be clear, as a company we believe that vaccinations are the way of the future to keep people safe from Covid-19. However, that doesn’t mean that anyone should be forced to have a jab, and as a company not only can we not do that, but we would never advocate such a policy; it would be an outrage,” said the company in its Blog (14 January 2021).

“We will, when vaccinations are readily available, make having one a condition of employment for all people who are able to have the vaccine safely. Once again existing members of staff, will not be forced to do anything they do not want to do, although for safety reasons we would recommend and encourage them to be vaccinated.”

The Blog said that the discussion of whether to have a jab or not will soon be “a non-issue” as the vast proportion of the population will be vaccinated very soon.

“All we are trying to do here is keep our staff and customers safe, and some of that actually goes towards our legal obligations on health and safety. 

What is the difference between vaccination against a virus that can kill and a hard hat on a building site that may prevent death from a heavy object falling on a worker’s head?”

COVID Immunity passports could provide much-needed reassurances to businesses, employers, colleagues, transport companies, airlines, local communities and policymakers over perhaps a written requirement in an employment contract.

However, as The Freelance Informer has previously reported, some are debating civil liberties and health data could be biased. And then there are those that believe that not offering immunity passports is unethical and holding an economy back by months if not years.

Testing times – get used to it

Pimlico Plumbers is funding a COVID-19 testing programme and is expected to foot the bill for vaccines if necessary. Following a successful pilot earlier this month, which tested the company’s new intake of apprentices, Pimlico is expanding the testing programme to its 450-strong workforce. 

Testing, using lateral flow tests that give a result in around 15 minutes, begins with those who have a high degree of customer and public contact including front line security staff and managers.  Pimlico’s “army” of engineers will also be a priority along with other critical departments such as its 24/7 call centre.

All visitors to its central-London headquarters will also be tested before being granted access, including new starters, interviewees and any other guests who require access to its operational base.

Why playing it safe has paid off for (so far)

The service company has been able to maintain its plumbing, heating and other home services throughout the Covid crisis handling anything from emergencies such as central heating failures to blocked toilets.

Since the Government introduced the first lockdown in March last year, the company’s supply of PPE equipment to staff and strictsocial distance measures reuired when entering customers’ homes has enabled Pimlico to complete more than 100,000 jobs without incident, the company has claimed.

“Covid testing is an ambitious operation, but it’s also a complete no-brainer and one that all responsible companies should be doing while the government gets on with the critical business of vaccinating the entire UK population,” said Mullins.

“Hopefully the vaccine will soon render Covid almost harmless to most people and things will be able to be scaled down, but until that moment arrives, we are going to throw everything we can at keeping our people and our customers out of harm’s way,” he said.

He added: “There’s going to be one hell of an economic mess to clear up after this is over, but right now all I’m concerned about is getting through the virus stage, and if that means chucking money and resources at the problem then that’s what I’m going to do.

“I’ve been extremely impressed at the enthusiasm of my staff to get tested, which means we have almost burned through the first 100 test kits we bought for our pilot scheme, a couple of thousand units purchased to begin a full testing regime.”

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