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The United Workers Union is calling on Spotless to stand down all workers with pay at its Dandenong laundry facility to ensure its workforce can get tested, and isolate until they get their results back.

Spotless Dandenong employees are low-wage workers who get paid the Award minimum wage.

A Spotless laundry employee who worked at the facility, which supplies a major Victorian private hospital, on Friday 24th July and Saturday 25th July subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite 147 workers being present on shift on the Friday, and 88 workers on the Saturday, Spotless has only identified the workforce in one small section as being a close contact of the case.

The Union, however, has identified that the positive employee had also been in another work area and interacted with common vectors of potential infection.

So far, Spotless has refused to do any more than stand a small number of workers in the immediate area only.

Quotes attributable to Godfrey Moase, Executive Director, United Workers Union:

“There is a real issue with employers attempting to isolate close contacts in large workplaces. You’ve got to test early, and you’ve got to cast the net wide in a workplace to be effective.”

“A test in time can save nine.

“Overwhelmingly we are talking about migrant workers who live in fairly large households with joint family arrangements. If a Spotless worker gets sick, then their partners, family members or housemates are going to get sick.

“When it comes to COVID-19, no single workplace is an island. This one vector can spread in factories, distribution centres and other essential workplaces throughout Melbourne.

“If we don’t take decisive universal actions and precautions at workplaces like Spotless Dandenong then this is going to prolong the lockdown for every single Victorian.”