Dallas based Southwest Airlines, one of world’s biggest low-cost carrier, has scrapped its plan to put all unvaccinated staff who are seeking and waiting for medical or religious exemptions, on unpaid leave, following the cancellation of nearly 2000 of its flights over one weekend.
The airline blamed the weather and air traffic control problems, however no other airline suffered a similar level disruption during the same period.
Some Southwest employees believe the mandate, which has been imposed by the US federal government, contravenes the company’s policy of “employees first – customers second”. They are unofficially taking strike action by taking paid sick leave at strategic times to cause disruption to flights.
Southwest employs approximately 55,000 people and has until 8 December, which is the deadline set by the US federal government, to get their employees vaccinated.
At the same time in Texas, a federal judge temporarily blocked United Airlines from putting unvaccinated employees who had been granted vaccination exemptions, on unpaid leave.