Chicken plant workers demand answers after colleague’s death
Workers at a Breakwater chicken farm are demanding answers from the business following the death of a colleague, understood to have contracted COVID-19 while working at the processing plant.
The United Workers Union (UWU) on Tuesday released a statement warning it would be "seeking justice" if the deceased Golden Farms Turosi worker was found to have died as a result of COVID-19 contracted at the workplace.
It is understood the 51-year-old male worker, identified as Kelvin Nguyen, died alone at his Newcomb home, where he was discovered by emergency workers on Sunday.
UWU director of food and beverage Susie Allison said the death had created considerable anxiety for Golden Farms workers.
"While the cause of death at this stage has not been confirmed, it appears likely he could have died as a result of having COVID-19," Ms Allison said.
"With over 40 cases at the site, it also appears likely he could have contracted the virus at work."
"If this is the case, the Union will be seeking justice and working with the family."
Ms Allison called on Golden Farms Turosi to provide paid pandemic leave to all workers.
"This case highlights the absolute gravity of the current situation facing essential food workers," she said.
"It is tragic that workers could contract this deadly virus simply because they have turned up to work to feed our communities."
"Food workers across the country are putting their own lives and their family lives at risk by attending work to ensure our supermarkets remain stocked. Every measure must be taken to ensure their safety.
"In particular, workers must be provided with readily accessible paid pandemic leave so they are not forced to choose between keeping their workmates safe and no income or digging into sparse leave entitlements."
Originally published as Chicken plant workers demand answers after colleague's death