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JobKeeper 2.0 a must – priority vaccination for retail workers essential

Quotes from Gerard Dwyer, National Secretary the SDA the union for retail, fast food, warehouse and online retail workers

As New South Wales faces the prospect of a protracted lockdown, the Morrison government must introduce JobKeeper 2.0 to enable workers to put food on the table and to protect them as well as the broader community from the enhanced dangers of contracting COVID-19.

Sydney, the Illawarra, Newcastle and the Central Coast are the largest centre of economic activity in the country.

The only effective way out of the current lockdown is to support businesses with wage subsidies and ensure that essential retail and fast food outlets maintain the highest levels of safety.

This is far from the case at the moment.

In the absence of realistic Commonwealth financial support, retail and fast food outlets in greater Sydney, the Illawarra, the Central Coast and Newcastle can remain open at the discretion of their operators.

The Berejiklian government’s decision inevitably leaves retail and fast food workers at greater risk of contracting COVID.

SDA analysis of exposure sites on the NSW Health website found:

From Friday July 2 to Friday July 9, 2021:
64% of close contact sites were a shop or shopping centre
79% of casual contact sites were a shop or shopping centre
In the 48 hours from Wednesday July 7 to Friday July 9, 2021:
79% close contacts were a shop or shopping centre
87% casual contacts were a shop or shopping centre

This demonstrates that both workers and shoppers face high risk of infection if they work in or visit a retail or fast food outlet.

Shoppers have the option of physical shopping; retail workers do not. They are at the beck and call of their employers.

In these circumstances, the SDA is engaging with the NSW government insisting that it ensure vulnerable workers have priority access to vaccines.

If their health and safety is to be put at increased risk as a result of government protocols, they must have immediate opportunity to be vaccinated.

Priority access to vaccination would not only protect the workers’ health, but that of the broader community as well, thereby improving the chances of an earlier end to the NSW lockdown.

JobKeeper 2.0 would enable workers to feed their families, pay for their housing and other essentials of life.

It would keep the people of NSW safer and healthier. It would improve the chances of economic activity in NSW returning to normal more rapidly, boosting the entire economy.


Contact: Jim Middleton 0418 627066