The Transport Workers Union has slammed Fedex over its dangerously inadequate response to a positive COVID case at its Matraville depot.
The TWU understands that Fedex management were alerted at 1:30pm yesterday (Monday 16 August) that a worker at the site had tested positive for COVID, but despite this allowed a shift change to occur as normal at 2:30pm. In that shift change, several workers entered the site who were later deemed close contacts and have since been ordered into self-isolation.
After worker health and safety representatives learned of the situation several hours later, they immediately directed all workers to cease unsafe work under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act.
Despite this, Fedex instructed a small number of workers to remain at the site to continue working – in direct contravention of the WHS Act.
The TWU has also received reports that Fedex did not register a COVID Safety Plan for the site until 6pm yesterday, despite legally requiring one to operate.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said that Fedex’s behaviour was a disgraceful example of their ‘profits over safety’ mentality.
“Fedex learned that one of their workers had COVID, and an hour later they let dozens of other workers enter the site – that’s not good enough.”
“It is against the law for a business to knowingly and recklessly expose their workers to a health and safety risk – and that’s what the TWU believes has happened here at Fedex.”
“As soon as they learned someone had been at that site while infectious, it should have been shut down and cleaned top to bottom while the contact tracing took place.”
“Instead, Fedex let dozens of workers go into an unsafe workplace, and it was up to the worker health and safety representatives to do what management failed, and end this unsafe work.”
“It’s exactly this sort of reckless, profits-over-safety kind of mentality that is going to stop NSW getting on top of this outbreak, and will keep us all in lockdown longer than we need to be.”
The TWU has lodged a formal complaint with both Comcare as the safety regulator, and SafeWork NSW over Fedex’s failure to adequately protect its workforce from a known COVID exposure.
It’s the second such example of an inadequate response from Fedex, after a COVID exposure at their Enfield site earlier this month also revealed the absence of a COVID Safety plan, no COVID control measures and a failure to consult with workers on COVID protection in their workplace.
In June this year Fedex reported a record US$84 billion in global revenue over the previous 12 months.