15 August 2020

UWU’s Godfrey Moase: “For every extra day of lockdown, for every extra quarantine measure, and for every additional restriction placed on Victorians, it is the corporations pushing insecure work and forcing workers to turn up to work who must bear ultimate responsibility. Ultimately, … the extreme imbalance of power between employers and workers is the root cause of the swift spread of COVID-19 through Victoria. … After face coverings became mandatory, some bosses were still disputing whether or not they had the legal responsibility to provide them to their workers. … At workplace after workplace, employers failed to disclose the news of positive COVID-19 cases. At one factory in Melbourne’s western suburbs, management attempted to keep the news from workers that one of their managers had tested positive. Even when such news was disclosed, there was no consultation around how a close contact would be defined. Confusion reigned, and workplaces mainly remained opened. The idea of managerial prerogative ran up against its physical limits. Often managers thought they knew better about every potential vector of transmission than the sum total of the experience of their entire workforce. They were wrong. One case would become three, three would become nine and then there was an entire workplace cluster. And then it was a plague for the Victorian working-classes.”