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         JBS Brooklyn staff walk off the job over COVID-19 safety concerns

         JBS meat plant workers refuse to return to work amid coronavirus concerns



JBS Brooklyn staff walk off the job over COVID-19 safety concerns


Business News Australia

28 July 2020


 Staff at JBS Australia's meat processing plant in Brooklyn, Melbourne have ceased work this morning citing concerns that the company has handled site safety poorly during a COVID-19 outbreak.


The industrial action comes fifteen days after the JBS site was ordered to close by the Department of Health and Human Services and the confirmation of 71 positive cases of COVID-19 connected to the meatworks plant.


According to the United Workers Union (UWU), the Brazilian-owned company has not responded to workers' concerns about the safety of the site during this period of time.


"JBS has consistently failed their workforce by not communicating with their workers and by not consulting with their representatives," says UWU Victorian branch secretary Susie Alison.


"These workers have been battling through this crisis with almost no support. They don't want to have gone through all that only to walk back onto the floor and catch the virus.


"Workers across this country are getting wise to the way these companies think, that profit is more important than people. They are ready to fight for their safety."


In a notice to the company, JBS cold storage workers told the company that "without safe systems of work and without adequate information, instruction and training" there would be a "serious and immediate threat to health or safety, namely a high threat and degree of risk to the COVID-19 contagion".


Just last week the UWU accused JBS Australia of asking COVID-19 positive staff to return to work and reported that safety equipment including electronic thermometers was faulty.


UWU says it has heard reports of a worker who had returned to the site yesterday but had yet to complete their 14 days in isolation. That worker allegedly remained on site for more than one hour before being sent home.


Workers have also reported that social distancing measures at the Brooklyn site were inadequate, with afternoon and day shift crossing paths in a confined space with no social distancing, and balaclavas were being shared between workers.


The UWU says workers raised concerns with management that were "not taken seriously".


Staff have also allegedly been forced to isolate over the last two weeks, with many asked to draw upon their annual leave entitlements whilst others left without any income at all.


The union has been calling on JBS to provide additional paid leave for the workforce that has helped them continue to operate throughout the pandemic.


JBS Australia says...





JBS meat plant workers refuse to return to work amid coronavirus concerns


By 9News (Australia)

Jul 28, 2020


Workers from a meat plant at the centre of a major coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne's west have refused to return to work today amid safety concerns.


About 45 cold store workers from JBS in Brooklyn made the decision to walk off the job just before 5am, when they decided they would not start work.


The coronavirus cluster linked to the abattoir has surged to 71 infections.


Outbreaks in the meat industry have also climbed, with 47 cases connected to the Australian Lamb Company in Colac, 69 cases linked to Bertocchi Smallgoods in Thomastown and 95 cases at Somerville Retail Services in Tottenham.


United Workers Union Victorian secretary Susie Allison told The Age JBS had failed to properly communicate with staff about safety...