Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union


Union’s report shows NSW government failing essential workers

The essential workers keeping the state running are not being protected from contracting COVID-19 at work and the NSW Government must do more to support them, a report published by the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union NSW & ACT (AMWU) shows.

Nearly half of the 850 essential workers surveyed by the union believe they have been put at risk of contracting COVID-19 at work. It’s clear that workers need a voice at the table when it comes to reducing the risk of infection in the workplace.

The NSW Government and NSW Health must do more to support and communicate to essential workers dealing with this risk. The AMWU is calling on NSW Health to convene a special Workplace Transmission Committee that includes NSW Health, union representatives, employers and SafeWork NSW.

Additionally, NSW Health should publish each workplace where a positive COVID-19 case has occurred and establish and advertise a Workers’ COVID-19 Emergency Hotline with assistance available in a range of languages.

These workplace protection measures should be complemented by the NSW Government paying people for the time spent getting vaccinated and introducing “test and isolate” payments to ensure workers can stay home without being financially penalised.

Read the report here:

Quotes attributable to Robyn Fortescue – Assistant State Secretary AMWU & ACT

“If the state government is serious about increasing vaccination rates, it should provide paid vaccination leave for all workers not already receiving it. They should make it as easy as possible for people to get a jab.”

“We hear journalists asking why certain businesses are open, but what they should be focused on is whether the workers at these essential businesses are being protected from COVID-19 transmission.”

“A test and isolate payment would relieve some of the stress on workers who have symptoms or who've been identified as casual contacts, who take a big financial hit by getting tested and staying home. They’re doing the right thing and they should be supported.”

“Most employers are following the rules, but there’s still a significant percentage that are not enforcing workplace health and safety regulations or the public health orders. These are the sites where we will see workplace transmission.” 

Media contact – Sophia Morris – 0400 889 166 or [email protected] 


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