Woolies staff walk out over COVID-19 safety concerns


Some 240 staff members at a Woolworths distribution centre have walked out over safety concerns, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a report from the ABC, The United Workers Unions say not enough is being done to protect workers from the virus at the Woolworths’ Liquor Distribution Centre in Melbourne’s west.

Woolworths Group, however, says it is working with the union and with WorkSafe Victoria “as a matter of urgency”.

Woolworths also says it is consulting with DHHS and “will continue to follow expert health advice”, a spokesperson reportedly said.

“The DHHS hasn’t instructed us the site needs to close or directed any team members to isolate,” they added.

The walkout comes as Victorian businesses anticipate an announcement from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews this afternoon, which is expected to detail further restrictions for Victorian businesses.

Yesterday, the Premier revealed ‘stage four’ restrictions, including an 8pm curfew and limits on shopping and exercise. He also said more information will be revealed for businesses today.

Businesses will be classified into three groups, he said, with supermarkets and food and beverage businesses to be included in a ‘business as usual’ group.

A second group will be able to continue operations with reduced output, and a third category will have to close altogether.

It is not currently clear what category a distribution warehouse would fit into.

The walkout also comes after Woolworths locked out hundreds of distribution centre workers in Wyong, New South Wales, last week, in response to strike action.

Workers at the distribution centre walked out for 24 hours, demanding wage equity with workers in Sydney, just an hour away.

The workers planned to return to work on Saturday, but have since been locked out of the centre indefinitely.

NOW READ: Stage four restrictions for Melbourne: People limited to 5km from home, business restrictions to be revealed Monday

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