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Sixth COVID-19 case at Coles Laverton DC

The safety of workers must be the first priority when dealing with issues at Coles Laverton Distribution Centre where workers have tested positive to COVID-19.

United Workers Union has been closely monitoring the situation since the first infection occurred.

The union understands there are now six workers affected by coronavirus at the distribution centre.

United Workers Union met with Coles this to demand they:

  • Place all workers at this site on paid pandemic leave for at least 2 weeks
  • Close the site for 72 hours to allow for a deep clean
  • Bring in a temporary workforce to handle demand until their workers are able to safely return to work – the union has offered to help find this workforce.

Matt Toner, Director of Logistics, United Workers Union said: “United Workers Union will always prioritise the health and safety of our members. We have demanded that Coles take immediate action to keep their workers safe.

“We told Coles they must send all workers home on paid pandemic leave for 2 weeks and close the site to allow for a deep clean to ensure the virus does not continue to spread.

“If Coles does not voluntarily close the site, the state government must step in to avoid a Cedar Meats situation.”

“Whilst the CDC supplies critical fresh fruit and vegetables, we are confident Coles can cope with a temporary closure and if any shortfall arises members of the public can obtain goods at their competitors.

“Coles must not put profits before people and risk the lives of their workforce – and further infections in the community – to get products on the shelves.”

United Workers Union members held a cease work at the Coles Laverton DC on 27 March over safety concerns.

Workers were able to win significant improvements to safety procedures after this action including:

  •  PPE for workers
  • Thermometer checks
  • Hand sanitiser and wipes for workers
  • Extra time for workers to spend time wiping down their stations between shifts
  • Enforcement of social distancing on site

The union has consistently demanded that all workers, including casuals, be provided with paid pandemic leave.

“Paid pandemic leave is a way of keeping workers safe and keeping the public safe

“It’s not good enough for workers to feel pressured into turning up for work if it contributes to the spread of the virus. That’s not safe for workers, and as we have seen in recent days, it’s not safe for the community.”