Master Builders call for vaccine mandate expansion to construction sector

There's a lack of clarity around the policy, apparently

Master Builders call for vaccine mandate expansion to construction sector

Master Builders is urging the New Zealand government to expand mandatory vaccinations to the building and construction sector, citing pressure from clients who prefer immunised workers.

"We commend the Government's bold leadership in establishing vaccine mandates in health and education sectors. It is the right thing to do. We now call on the Government to front foot broadening mandates to the building and construction workforce," said David Kelly, chief executive of Master Builders.

According to Kelly, clients are starting to show preference for vaccinated builders, leaving contractors in a difficult position.

"This places the main contractor in a bind, as they are unable to require their employees to be vaccinated, can't disclose vaccination status to others, or indeed may not know the vaccination status of all their employees," explained Kelly.

Read more: New Zealand's construction industry takes first step to tackling lack of diversity

The company said construction workers travel long distances and across multiple workplaces. They also interact with multiple businesses working in the same site and are exposed to uncontrollable work sites.

"They frequently work indoors in poorly ventilated environments, and the physical nature of the work means that physical distancing rules increases their risk of accident and injury," read the company's appeal.

Feedback from members of the firm also revealed that they think there is a lack of clarity about the mandates imposed by the government - which further burdens an already stressful client relationships during time of peak demand.

"The sector needs to play its part in our national vaccination response and is doing so. But, right now, we need clarity, direction, and decisive action from government on vaccine mandates. In their absence, there is a risk of further disruption in the sector," said Kelly.

The appeal joins a growing list of sectors that are asking the government to expand its mandatory jab policy, which is currently limited to health and education sectors.

The Auckland Business Chamber previously urged the government to expand vaccine mandates to all workplaces, particularly those offering people-facing services.

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