Nearly 600 United Airlines employees might lose their jobs if they don’t follow the company’s Covid-19 immunization policy.
The great majority of the company’s 67,000 employees in the United States have provided proof of vaccination, which was needed by Monday.
In a message to staff, the company’s executives wrote, “This was a very tough choice.”
In August, the Chicago-based airline announced new Covid requirements for employees.
By the deadline on Monday, its US employees have to upload proof of immunization, or the first of two injections.
The 593 workers who refused the coronavirus vaccine and did not apply for a religious or medical exemption are now at risk of losing their employment.
“Our argument for mandating the vaccination for all United’s US-based workers was straightforward – to keep our people safe,” company chief executive Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart stated on Tuesday.
“This was a difficult choice,” they stated, “but keeping our employees safe has always been our first concern.”
Some of those workers may be retained if they have been vaccinated but have neglected to provide proof of vaccination, or if they are immunized before official discussions on the subject, according to the firm.
On the dismissals, United said it will follow the rules established in the union agreements. The procedure might take weeks or months to complete.
A total of 2,000 employees have asked to be exempted from the regulation.
It had previously said that those who are exempt will be placed on temporary, unpaid leave beginning October 2nd. However, those intentions were put on hold after six employees filed a lawsuit contesting the policy.
The “tight” regulation, according to Fiona Cincotta, a market analyst at City Index, is unlikely to be implemented by UK airlines, according to the BBC’s Today programme.
Pandemic-related travel restrictions affected United hard, as they did many other firms in the airline industry.
It declared at the height of the crisis that up to 36,000 employees would be furloughed.
It disputed, however, that its vaccine policy would have an impact on future recruiting, despite the fact that new hires will be required to be vaccinated.
It said on Tuesday that it had received over 20,000 applications for 2,000 flight attendant positions.
Few airlines in the United States have mandated vaccines for its employees. For individuals who are not vaccinated, Delta Airlines has introduced a $200 (£148) monthly health insurance premium.