COVID-19 Australian trade unions warn of strikes as workplace safety concerns remain unresolved

Australian Trade Union Commission (ACTU) States that if companies and the federal government do not prioritize COVIDsafe’s working conditions, they may engage in industrial activities nationwide.

After meeting with the Australian trade union on 17 January, ACTU issued a statement that the union will do everything possible to keep people safe and slow the spread of the latest Omicron waves in the COVID-19 pandemic. Did.

“The” burst “government has failed to prepare our health system and our community, and they are responsible for Australia suffering from the highest per capita infection rates in the world. “ACTU said.

“Australia is currently experiencing the worst days since the pandemic began, making it one of the highest levels of illness ever seen in the workforce. Key workers are trying to keep the country moving. And in many cases, they are expected to put themselves in doing harm without the protection they need. “

Epoch Times Photo
A woman is holding a young child outside the entrance to the newly opened Southwestern Sydney Vaccine Center in McCawley Fields, Sydney, Australia, on July 26, 2021. (Lisa Marie Williams / Getty Images)

To remind them that the union is obliged to do everything reasonable and practical to keep workers safe, such as quitting work or banning dangerous practices as needed. Declared to write a letter to all employers.

The threat was terrible Was criticized “In the midst of a pandemic, there can be no drastic action, intimidation or intimidation,” said Josh Frydenberg, Federal Finance Minister.

“It’s a shame to see the union stir up horror, scare the community and tell falsehoods today, to say the least. No one is talking about tearing it up,” Frydenberg said in Sky News. Said in an interview.

He said that Omicron is a new stage of the pandemic, and the federal government can isolate individuals infected with COVID-19 as needed and return to work if they are asymptomatic and negative during the isolation period. He said he made a suggestion.

However, he admitted that there was no perfect solution, but argued that the decision was a “balanced approach.”

“The National Cabinet, the Labor Party Prime Minister, the Liberal Party Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister have come together to change the quarantine requirements based on medical advice.”

“It’s not an alternative between someone’s work and someone’s health. What we’re doing is protecting our work with the best health advice.”

The ACTU has also openly criticized the federal government for failing to respond to the union’s request to cooperate with the union. Respond to union demands for free rapid antigen testing, improved masks, changed definitions of close contact, and regaining support for businesses and workers.

The threat from ACTU arises after the Australian Government changes regulations (pdf) Isolate all freight, transportation, logistics sectors, and close contacts working within healthcare professionals, asymptomatic, negative RAT tests, or low-risk intimate contact.

In addition, the federal government has changed the definition of close contact and spent more than four hours in households or cases identified in “household-like” settings, rather than including workplace settings to reduce the demand for PCR tests. Limited to those who have.

“Only if you live effectively with someone, or if you have been in the accommodation with someone for more than 4 hours, you are in close contact … someone who actually has COVID-19. Scott Australia -Prime Minister Morrison announced at Canberra on December 30th.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus condemned this change ABC News January 11th, “Workers may currently be spending eight hours with COVID-positive people, and they are no longer considered intimate contact. It’s really crazy and a bit dangerous.”

The definition of close contact applies only to family contact, but workers who need to be self-isolated for communication from work still remain. application For financial assistance during the quarantine period.

Chief Health Officer Paul KellyHowever, he said the change would provide some flexibility, balancing the need to reduce infections with the detrimental loss of the workforce.

“We are not asking sick people to go to work. We are not asking people who are shown to have COVID to be at work. But we allow people to come back and monitor their symptoms and use rapid antigen testing at work so they can work and keep the supply chain up and running. “Kelly said at a press conference on January 13th.

According to Kelly, the large distribution centers in Woolworths and Coles have absentee rates of 30-50% and cannot operate in this situation. He said some were absent because of their close contact, while others were absent because of their illness.

“It’s a mixture, it’s different. It’s mottled nationwide, but it’s the kind of problem we’re working on, and to adopt these risk-based approaches so we can address that problem. , We need to act more quickly. “

Marina Chan


Marina Chan is a Melbourne-based Australian reporter with a focus on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]