Food manufacturer SPC has accused the worker’s union for trying to create “fear and confusion” after proposing to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for its workers.

The company earlier said it would require staff to be fully vaccinated by the end of November to gain entry to any company location.

It cited “the health and well-being of all staff and the broader community” as the reason for the decision.

Following meetings with workers, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union claimed SPC hadn’t explained whether the November timeline was flexible given vaccine supply and accessibility issues.

It also said it should be the responsibility of public health officials to call for mandatory vaccinations instead of businesses.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, SPC CEO Robert Giles said the accusation aimed to “maintain the union’s relevancy rather than servicing its members”.

“We firmly reject the AMWU’s assertion that they were not properly consulted in our vaccine mandate,” he said.

“This mandate is a business decision to ensure the safety of our staff as well as the broader community.

“It is the responsibility of the directors of the business (who are also liable) to provide a safe working environment – not the union.”

He continued to address concerns raised by Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus that mandatory vaccination was a “slippery slope”.