Banquet chain admits issuing jab ultimatums to staff - RTHK
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Banquet chain admits issuing jab ultimatums to staff

2021-04-16 HKT 12:12
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  • Banquet chain admits issuing jab ultimatums to staff
A local restaurant chain has admitted that it's told workers to get vaccinated soon if they want to keep on working.

An internal memo of the U-Banquet group, which says that workers must be vaccinated by April 26 or they won't be able to work from April 29, has recently gone viral.

The group's chairman, Cheung Ka-ho, confirmed on an RTHK programme on Friday that the memo is genuine, and that only managers had been consulted about the move.

He said his firm has been encouraging staff to get Covid jabs since the end of March by giving those who are willing to do so a HK$1,000 bonus.

Cheung noted that this came before the government floated the idea of a "vaccination bubble" that allows relaxed dining restrictions for restaurants if their staff and customers are inoculated.

"We are part of the service industry, we serve customers, they want a safe place to eat at our company. They don't want to get infected at our places," he said, adding that vaccinations can make everyone – customers and workers – feel more at ease.

He said 90 percent of staff have either been inoculated or plan to do so. For the rest of them, he said, suspension from work is only a temporary arrangement, and management is considering whether to move them to roles that don't require contact with customers.

However, a union leader, Mung Siu-tat, accused the government and employers of being "unscrupulous" for forcing workers to get vaccinated.

"If workers get sacked for not taking a vaccine, that amounts to unreasonable dismissal under the law. Because getting an injection or not has nothing to do with their work performance," Mung said on the same RTHK programme.

He added that employers will have to make severance and long-service payments in the event of dismissals, adding that employees should not resign because they would then forfeit the payments.

Mung said if workers are being forced by their companies to take the jabs, they should contact the Confederation of Trade Unions, which is compiling a list of relevant firms for consumers' reference.