The United Workers Union cited an employee of a Dandenong laundry facility owned by Spotless Services who had worked on Friday, 24 July, and Saturday, 25 July, and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
The facility is known to supply a major Victorian private hospital.
According to the union, Spotless refused to do any more than stand a small number of workers in the immediate area only, even though 147 workers being present on shift on the Friday and 88 workers on the Saturday.
Despite Spotless identifying the workforce in one small section as being a close contact of the case, the union said it identified that the positive employee had also been in another work area and interacted with common vectors of potential infection.
As a result, the United Workers Union called 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.
United Workers Union executive director Godfrey Moase said, when it comes to COVID-19, no single workplace is an island, and that one vector can spread in factories, distribution centres and other essential workplaces throughout Melbourne.
“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,” Mr Moase said.
“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.
“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.”