The largest flu vaccination programme in Europe’s private sector is being launched by the Co-operative Group.
All 100,000 employees of the Group will be given access to free flu jabs to protect against illnesses this winter, including one flu type B and swine flu.
The Co-operative Group, which is also known as the Co-op, is hoping it will reduce the amount of sick leave taken by employees.
According to the company, it will be able to save £1 million in absenteeism costs if 75 percent of its staff members take up the offer of a free flu jab.
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It is estimated that sickness, like flu and colds, costs businesses in the UK approximately £1.1 billion every year.
Employees will be able to have their vaccinations at any of the 400 branches of the Co-operative Pharmacy, or at 42 workplace-based clinics which are also offering the jabs.
The Group Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group, Peter Marks, commented on the move.
He said: “The UK economy requires help to boost growth and output and our initiative is the kind of shot in the arm it needs.
“Reducing the costs and impact on business efficiency from workplace absenteeism is particularly important in these difficult economic times.”
“Our leading approach to offer flu vaccinations to our staff makes business sense while improving the welfare of our employees,” he added.
The Co-operative Group is reportedly the largest mutual business in the UK, owned by six million consumers rather than private shareholders.
Its primary outlet is its food stores – The Co-operative Food – the UK’s fifth largest food retailer.
Other Co-op outlets include Travel, Pharmacy, Legal Services, Funeral Care, Banking, Insurance, Investments and Asset Management.
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