A coalition of unions, peak bodies, community organisations, faith groups, student organisations, workers’ collectives, community leaders, activists and concerned citizens has written to the premier of South Australia to strongly reject the suggestion that blame for the decision to lock down the state can be laid at the feet of a single worker, welcoming the government's public recognition that the decision to lock down was based on a range of factors.
The letter highlights the structural conditions of work that have contributed to the transmission of COVID in our state and country. Current working conditions in our state mean that many workers are forced to work multiple jobs to earn a living. Others work for below the legal wage and are subject to wage theft. Many are paid in cash and have little power to argue their conditions of work. All of these issues contribute to working conditions that expose workers to risks, including the risk of contracting COVID.
Insecure work is the Achilles heel of our pandemic response. As long as essential workers like security guards and care workers on the frontline of this crisis are forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, we will not be able to eﬀectively combat the spread of this virus. We have seen this in our state, in Victoria and throughout the world.
Our health response will only be as strong as the structures, social and economic, that underpin it. This pandemic will be defeated by a compassionate and kind community, uniﬁed by our common purpose.