Australian Workers’ Union NSW Secretary Tony Callinan is calling for workers across a range of crucial industries to get priority access to vaccines and mandated paid vaccination leave.
Mr Callinan also backed Opposition health spokesman Ryan Park’s call for clarification around the classification of workers at the Port Kembla steel mill and in other crucial industries.
“If COVID-19 were to spread within the steelworks or an aluminium smelter it would be absolutely disastrous,” Mr Callinan said.
“You can’t tell all the workers to pack up and go home to isolate. You can’t just turn off a blast furnace at the steelworks or potline at Tomago Aluminium smelter, without workers to maintain the operation the outcome would be catastrophic”.
“Given the massive potential consequences we need to make sure workers in these industries are given every opportunity to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible. That means giving them priority access to vaccines and ensuring they have paid vaccination leave.
“Neither of these measures are currently in place, but they easily could be. All we need is for the NSW Government and employers in these industries to pull their fingers out and make it happen.
“We can’t just cross our fingers and hope for the best, it’s only a matter of time before we have a cluster on a large worksite, we need to take action immediately”