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… while CEO Doug Paulin charts a novel vax position for staff

8th December 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | bridget@foodticker.co.nz | @foodtickernz

Sealord will not make Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for New Zealand staff, seeking instead to mirror in the workplace what could reasonably be expected in a public environment.

Sealord chief executive Doug Paulin

Chief executive Doug Paulin said that following consultation, the Nelson-headquartered seafood company would require a minimum level of 85% of staff vaccinated, supported by a testing regime.

“Where we have got to, based on my perspective that I need to offer a working environment which provides a similar health risk to what you would find in an external environment,” Paulin told the Ticker.

“We’ve chosen a minimum threshold for all of our various different areas to get to 85% vaccinated, and we will then have a testing requirement for all staff.

“That is why I am comfortable that at 85% – rather than 90% – overlaying of the testing which you don’t get when you are in a public environment I am comfortable to say I am providing that safe working environment for our staff.”

Paulin added that if any workplace did not reach 85% vaccination by 24 January, that is at least one dose and committed to getting the second, then Sealord would make it mandatory for that area to go to 100%.

The policy would apply to around 800 of the company’s 1200 New Zealand staff.

It would take in all staff employed on vessels, land-based factories and supporting essential employees, in-store sales and marketing teams, and non-essential staff required to be on site. It excluded contractors and non-permanent staff.

The company’s Australian staff were already fully vaccinated.

Sealord was not part of the government-sanctioned rapid antigen testing trial that a number of private sector companies including Foodstuffs, Woolworths New Zealand and Mainfreight took part in.

Paulin said Sealord was looking at rapid antigen testing but “the other one we are looking at is a composite test which tests a number of different people via either a throat swab or saliva”.

“We are just working through which one of those provides the best efficacy and works the best for our sites – one requires a lab and one does not.”

The policy had been communicated to staff, who had the opportunity to provide feedback until the end of today.

Paulin said Sealord was in talks with three providers around the final testing regime, with the leading option requiring staff to test three times a week.

 

 


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