Packaging company Golden Era hid news of a COVID-19 outbreak from its +180 workers at their New Era plant in Germiston. On Friday, 5 June workers learnt that an HR manager tested positive. They were called to work on the following Monday but grew concerned when a number of managers were missing.
Workers found out that those missing had all tested positive. They promptly demanded that production stop until the workplace was safe. Management risked a further spread of the virus by packing workers into busses to get them tested in order to get production back under way.
The company informed the first group of 40 workers that they had tested negative and should return to work on Wednesday. Workers are yet to personally receive their results from Ampath – the private lab used by Golden Era.
Workers suspect the workplace was not deep cleaned either. Golden Era is repeating the callous approach of L’Oreal who recently rushed workers back into a contaminated workplace after securing negative results, only for a bigger outbreak to immediately appear.
One worker who has tested positive at New Era has been told to go home to self-isolate. She shares one toilet and tap with the families living in 10 other shacks. “There is no way I can social distance at home,” she told CWAO. “I got the virus at work, they should have given me somewhere to stay so I don’t spread the virus at home.”
This article was submitted on 10 June 2020. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.