WorkSafe to staff: Work remotely or 'keep a low profile'

Fears employees will be harassed by anti-vaxxers and protesters

WorkSafe to staff: Work remotely or 'keep a low profile'

Employees of WorkSafe New Zealand were urged to work from home on Thursday or maintain a low profile when going out amid concerns of harassment from people against COVID-19 curbs and vaccine mandates, a report said.

The New Zealand Herald saw an internal email to staff on Thursday, which is urging them to "work from home on Thursday" if possible.

If not, employees were urged to "keep a low profile and take extra precautions" when they are out on the streets. This includes removing their lanyards when out of the building and refraining from wearing any piece of clothing that would associate them with the company. In addition, staff who cannot afford work remotely were also encouraged to postpone any activity in areas of protests and stay inside the WorkSafe building throughout the day to maintain their safety.

The advisory comes after the Freedom and Rights Coalition announced it is staging a demonstration in Wellington to protest COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.

Protests

Stuff later reported that the protest was carried out from the Civic Square along Willis St and up Lambton Quay. Police said there were no arrests during the demonstration and participants were "generally well behaved."

The coalition said in a statement on Thursday morning also called for a "political change" as it claimed that politicians no longer cared about the people.

Read more: Pest control firm fined six-figure sum after staff get acute poisoning

"We have had enough of Labour's Control! Actually....we've had enough of all politicians. None of them care about us, the people. We need a total cleanout of the Beehive!" it said on a Facebook post.

"It's time that this government gets their stickybeaks out of our lives and allows us to get on with living with COVID-19," it added.

Protection

The call from WorkSafe reflects a growing safety concern for employees who are getting harassed for enforcing vaccine mandates.

Workers from the retail sector reported receiving threats and abuse physically or even online, which Retail NZ slammed as "completely unacceptable."

A new police unit has been established to help protect workers from abusive customers.

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