True Story by Erica Walter

Erica, 60, New Zealand

Mandated out of Job

Lost my dream job as a Locomotive Engineer with kiwirail, and my home due to the mandates. I was mandated out of my job, and consequently had to move out of my home. All we could afford was a tent in a paddock that had no running water or power. I have a partner who has heart and lung disease, and permanent knee damage from his 43 years as a Plumber, and so having no income was very stressful for both of us. 

My name is Erica, and this is my true story.

I was employed by Kiwirail for almost 4 years as a Passenger Operator, and Train Manager, and continued to work for Transdev when they took over the contract in 2017. I then applied for the position of Locomotive Engineer and I was both shocked and overjoyed to find out that at the age of 56, I had been accepted for the role. This was my dream job which I believed would take me right through to and beyond retirement age, but sadly, this dream was shattered by the mandate.

I spent days feeling numb and terrified of what my future would become with zero income, knowing full well that the odds of finding employment anywhere else, with mandates happening everywhere and the fact that I am 60 years of age would be next to none.

I couldn’t believe that with the business I worked for, being an essential business, where unvaccinated passengers were allowed to be on board the trains and walk through the station, would mandate. I am a train driver, with very little interaction with the public, locked away in a cab for most of my shift, I worked right through every lockdown and never wore a mask as I have an exemption yet the moment the mandate was put through, I was considered a huge risk.

Everything changed at work for me the moment the mandates were mentioned, as I never hid the fact that I was not going to consent to vaccination. Many staff, who I had wonderful relationships with, wouldn’t talk to me anymore. My team leaders wouldn’t talk to me unless I went to them to say I was too stressed to take another train out. There was never any follow up from them to see if I was ok to drive the trains, even though I was responsible for hundreds of lives. There was no union support as they were completely bias toward anyone who didn’t consent to the vaccine. The whole risk assessment was pushed through 3 days before Xmas with no consultation to the staff, and with so many people on holiday, most of the staff wouldn’t have known to put in a submission anyway.

I have a partner who has heart and lung disease, and permanent knee damage from his 43 years as a Plumber, who will never be able to work again. Our lives have been tipped upside down, and we are currently in the process of selling everything we own and moving out of our rental, which we now can’t afford and will be moving off grid to a paddock with no power or running water and will be living in a tent, which is why I haven’t given an address at the top of my email.

I have always believed in freedom of choice and I am heartbroken that my choice to not put an experimental vaccine in my body has cost my partner and I everything.

Kind regards

Erica

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