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Now McManus mentioned businesses attempting to require Covid-19 positive workers to work. The highest-profile example of this in recent days has to be the Teys Australia abattoir in South Australia which was given state government approval to operate while some staff were Covid positive.
The ACTU said the exemption from the SA government was apparently unique in Australia and set a dangerous precedent given the risks of affecting other staff, but McManus has just confirmed that the workers of the plant have just secured a victory in this case.
Just with breaking news, that’s been resolved and those workers don’t have to go to work while they’re Covid positive. This is about being very clear with employers that this is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, the ACTU has been receiving a lot of pleas for help from workers, mainly in smaller organisations like hospitality and retail, where they’re casual workers and their employers have been saying “we know you’re positive, but come to work, you’re not infectious”.
We are writing to all employers and we started that last night. We need to put in place upgraded safety protections for 2022. What cut it last year for Delta won’t work now.
That involves things like better masks, it involves RATs when they’re available. That has to be done under the law and in consultation with workers. Workers have a right to cease work if they’re not in a safe workplace.