It comes after Morrisons said it would cut sick pay for unvaccinated workers who need to self-isolate, in order to mitigate the “biblical costs” of the coronavirus pandemic of profits dipped.
The decision, first reported by The Guardian, was among other strategies Morrisons is using to deal with “sustained supply chain cost increases” from the nationwide HGV driver shortage, supply chain disruption and the increase of wholesale prices of commodities.
David Potts, the chief executive of Morrisons, said in a financial update to the City on Thursday that the move was also intended to encourage workers to get vaccinated.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed with City AM: “From 1 October, following government confirmation that all adults have had the opportunity to get double-vaccinated, we will no longer be paying full sick pay for pinged colleagues who have chosen not to be vaccinated.”
The pay change will not apply to workers who have not been given the chance to get two vaccine doses, or those who have Covid-19 symptoms.
The decision has sparked backlash, with lawyers and union chiefs warning that the grocer risks facing legal action. Rob Miguel, national health and safety adviser at Unite, described it as “strong-arm tactics” that would “result in issues around equalities, human rights and ethical breaches”.
Anti-vaccine campaigners have also joined in the backlash and created the hashtag #BoycottMorrisons to encourage people who disagree with the move not to shop at the supermarket.
Some people accused Morrisons of “discrimination”, while others who are vaccinated have pointed out that the retailer is “setting themselves up for a legal battle”.
But vulnerable shoppers have used the hashtag to thank those who are opposed to the Covid vaccine for making Morrisons a “safer” place for them to shop.
One person wrote: “Anti-vaxxers are going to #BoycottMorrisons apparently. Excellent. I’ll feel safer in there tomorrow evening when I do my shopping. Well done @Morrisons.”
Another said: I’d be happy for the anti-vaxxers to boycott all supermarkets, be a far more pleasant and safer environment for the rest of us.”
“See everyone trying to boycott Morrisons for their stance on the vaccine,” added another person. “As far as I’m concerned, the lack of anti-vaxxers is just one more reason to shop at Morrisons.”
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