Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins today confirmed all new starters at his £50million business would have to take a Covid jab to get a job.
The outspoken owner – who is worth at least £70million – has thrashed out the new papers with his lawyers to make the booster mandatory for all new hires.
And he said he doubted many would object to the new terms, adding ‘people would crawl across the snow naked to get a vaccine at the moment’.
His firm is exploring how it might modify existing staff contracts although he insisted no one would be forced to receive a vaccine or be fired over the issue.
Mullins. 68, said: ‘We’ve obviously been talking to our lawyers and they’re very happy that we can add this proposal to any new workers that start with us once the vaccine is rolled out.
‘We are in regular contract with our staff from our HR department and I think people would crawl across the snow naked to get a vaccine at the moment.
Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins today confirmed all new starters would need jabs
There are three coronavirus-tackling vaccines currently approved in the UK for use
‘We’ll be using the new contacts two to three months from now.
‘When people come along for a job with us if they’re not happy to sign that then that’s their choice but they certainly won’t be given a job with Pimlico Plumbers.
The comments, made in an interview with Radio 4, came as a legal director admitted he had been contacted by other clients exploring the concept.
The firm is also exploring how it might modify existing staff contracts, he said, although he insisted no one would be forced to receive a vaccine or be fired over the issue
Keep working at home, PM to tell employers
Office staff are set to be told to keep working from home even as other lockdown restrictions are eased.
Boris Johnson is not expected to give a firm date for when workers will return to their desks as he unveils his plans for a return to normality on Monday.
It means the ‘work from home if you can’ message will continue to guide employers for the foreseeable future.
Many large firms have already told staff they should work remotely, with some even delaying a return to the office until at least the end of the year.
However, some studies claim that productivity is hampered as workers log in from their kitchen table rather than at their desk.
Tory MPs urged the Government last night to provide clarity on when staff might be able to return to their offices.
Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘We need to get people back to work as soon as possible.
‘There are lots of reasons why work is important to our lives. It affects people’s physical and mental wellbeing and there are issues around productivity.
‘I would like to see as much detail as possible in the road map to help people to make plans. They need to know in advance.’
Lewis Silkin’s David Samuels said: ‘A company could elect to put that clause in their contract.
‘They might find resistance to it, people not wanting to sign up to it or saying somehow legally unfair that they’re required to do so.
‘I think at the beginning of the process that’s not really going to make any difference for that employer.
‘Where they may find difficulty is ultimately if they’re challenged through some kind of legal process on the basis that individual says it’s unfair legally for me to have that in my contract.
‘Perhaps they’d say it discriminates against them because they can’t have the vaccination or they can’t get hold of the vaccination or something along those lines
‘But there’s nothing to stop the business in the first place putting it in the contract.
‘I have certainly had enquiries about this, I can’t say I have had clients hellbent on introducing this, but they want to understand if it would be possible in the right circumstances.’
The Government has pledged to vaccinate 15 million people in Britain by mid-February, with Boris Johnson promising that 200,000 doses would be administered per day by the end of the week.
Vaccinations will soon be available on the High Street, alongside in around 50 hubs which will be set up in venues across the UK in a bid to get the jab to as many Britons as possible.
Yesterday Mr Mullins told the BBC he was willing to pay for private immunisations for those at Pimlico Plumbers, should they become available.
He added he has set aside £800,000 to pay for inoculations for more than 400 workers.
‘We wouldn’t dream of forcing anybody but I’m pretty much certain that 99 per cent of our staff would jump at the opportunity,’ Mr Mullins said on Thursday.
‘Who in their right mind would turn down one needle or one jab that could save your life?’
Asked whether there was a contradiction between saying contracts could be modified to require vaccines while also saying no one would be forced out, Mr Mullins presented the issue as one of persuasion rather than coercion.
‘It’s not a contradiction because I think you’ll find if you encourage people and advise them … I’m happy to pay for anyone that works for us to have the vaccine,’ he said.
The Pimlico Plumbers boss added he believes that private vaccinations will be available within a few months.
He also said he does not think people will find a ‘no jab, no job’ policy controversial.
‘Nobody moans now you’ve got to get on a plane with a negative Covid test,’ he said, referring to new rules requiring passengers arriving in Britain to provide proof of a negative test taken less than 72 hours before travel.
Many other countries have had such requirements for months.
However, despite Mr Mullins’ plans to adopt a ‘no jab, no job’ policy, lawyers have suggested this move could lead to claims of discrimination or constructive dismissal.
Nick Wilcox, a partner at BDBF, told the Guardian that mandatory vaccinations ‘could be an issue’, advising employers to consult workers about jabs rather than imposing them.