SWISS threaten unvaccinated staff with the sack from December
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) have announced that all employees working onboard planes must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 2021, making a hard deadline for the 45 percent of employees who are not vaccinated. The airline said that those that refuse vaccination risk losing their jobs.
COVID-19 vaccination now mandatory for SWISS flight crew
The airline is the first Swiss company to mandate COVID vaccination for its employees. SWISS had originally made the decision due to quarantine restrictions for the unvaccinated in several of the airline's destinations like Thailand, making it more difficult to use unvaccinated staff on these routes.
A spokesperson for the airline told 20 minuten that "if the required vaccination is not met, we feel compelled to take measures due to the breach of duty in accordance with the collective work contract." They emphasised that if workers were to refuse vaccination, they would be given a termination notice by the end of January 2022, meaning as many as 2.500 staff may lose their jobs.
The spokesperson clarified that workers who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons will have their case reviewed individually. SWISS have also confirmed that anyone who is unsure about vaccination may take six months unpaid leave to make their decision.
SWISS first company in Switzerland to mandate vaccination
President of kapers Cabin Crew Union Sandrine Nikolic-Fuss said that "there was never any talk [from the airline] of layoffs,” but admitted that little could be done to stop it. She said she regrets when they lose colleagues but noted that vaccinations are “anchored” in their work contracts.
Speaking on the legality of the move, Chairholder of the Faculty of Law and labour law expert at the University of Zurich, Roger Rudolph, described mandatory vaccination as a “grey area”, saying, "there is neither a clear legal regulation nor a clarifying case law on it." Cabin crew and pilots will have until mid-November to have their second COVID jab.