Qantas has rejected claims it is putting staff at risk of coronavirus after the Transport Workers Union (TWU) lodged a notice alleging a breach of workplace safety against the airline.
The move came after a TWU member – a freight worker – was diagnosed with the virus in Sydney.
A cluster of eight cases among Qantas baggage handlers in Adelaide is currently being investigated.
The TWU says Qantas had failed to reduce the risk of infection to workers, “resulting in infection of a significant number of workers in its operations in Sydney and interstate, and the likely exposure of hundreds more”.
The union is demanding details about the number of workers who have been infected with coronavirus, measures to isolate workers who may have been in contact with the virus and copies of hazard management documents.
Yesterday it lodged notice alleging a breach of workplace safety against Qantas.
The TWU NSW branch secretary, Richard Olsen, said Qantas had failed to protect its workforce.
“Workers at Sydney Airport and at airports around the country are scared and they are not getting the support from Qantas,” he said.
“With confirmation of yet another worker infected, people right across the airline will be worried about going home to their families and spreading the infection to them.”
But Qantas says the union claims are baseless and that the infected worker caught the virus from a family member.
“The union knows full well that this employee most likely contracted COVID-19 from a family member who already had the virus, and not while they were at work,” a spokesman for the airline told Nine.com.au.
“As soon as we were notified that the employee’s family member had the coronavirus, we directed him not to come to work. He has not been back to work since.”
The spokesman said Qantas had worked with NSW Health to help identify other employees who he had close contact with the worker so they could self-isolate.
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