Last night a new COVID-19 case was confirmed at the Chemist Warehouse Distribution Centre in Somerton, Melbourne that could lead to a new outbreak.
The worker and only five of their colleagues have gone into isolation, despite the possibility of up to 100 staff who worked the same shift having come in contact with the confirmed case.
Chemist Warehouse management wanted to continue business as usual today. However, after workers found out about the case, many have rightfully refused to work until Chemist Warehouse prioritises their safety.
In response, the company has demanded workers use their own entitlements, forcing casual workers and workers with low entitlements to choose between financially supporting their family or putting their health at risk.
Despite United Workers Union’s requests, Chemist Warehouse only provided limited details of the thoroughness of the clean that took place before they expected staff to continue working.
Quotes attributable to United Workers Union Logistics Director Matt Toner:
“Yet again we see a company that has made mega-profits off this pandemic taking the low road and treating workers as if they were completely dispensable.
“Big businesses need to understand that this virus spreads just as fast in the workplace as it does in the community, and they need to do more to stop the second wave hitting Victorians.
“Chemist Warehouse must think of their workers as people, who could die from this deadly virus, rather than trying to return to business as normal and get as much production out as possible in the greedy pursuit of profits.”
United Workers Union members are calling for Chemist Warehouse to:
- Place all workers at this site on paid pandemic leave until they have been able to obtain a COVID test and return it negative.
- Close the site for 72 hours to allow for a deep clean.
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