Media Releases

Political failure forces Unions to take action

January 30, 2022

Political failure forces Unions to take action


Unions from across the country held an emergency meeting today to consider options to respond to the Omicron crisis. In response to the failure of Steven Marshall and Scott Morrison to take action to protect the safety of workers, union members will commence taking whatever steps necessary to ensure they are as safe as possible.


Steven Marshall and Scott Morrison have consistently failed to meet with the representatives of essential workers to discuss coordinating an approach to keep our state going while also ensuring the safety of workers in the community.


Steven Marshall has ignored letters from SA Unions Secretary Dale Beasley, including one last week seeking an emergency meeting, warning of impacts of Omicron to the health sector, retail and wholesale supply chains and our emergency services’ capacity to respond to bushfires and emergencies. He’s refused to meet even as South Australia became the first state to allow an employer to force COVID positive workers back to work; Teys Abattoir in Naracoorte, and our state’s teachers consider strike action.


You can read the full statement from today’s meeting, and SA Unions’ letter attached.


Quotes attributed to SA Unions Secretary, Dale Beasley:


“In light of the growing pressure on workers and the community, the union movement today resolved to take immediate and serious action to keep workers and the community safe. Unions determined to do everything within our power to ensure the safety of workers and the community.


“The Marshall and Morrison Governments’ confusing and changing cavalcade of measures have left South Australian workers vulnerable to COVID infection and unsure about what they should be doing to keep safe. And as they begin allowing COVID positive workers into workplaces, the public’s confidence in their management of this crisis is clearly evaporating.


“When political leaders won’t take the action required to keep workers safe, the union movement will do so, and we will use any and all levers at our disposal to do so.


“There’s no doubt that the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID in SA, take the pressure of our health system and ensure businesses have greater certainty to be able to operate is to provide free access to rapid antigen testing.


“If the government wanted to do all they could to support workers and businesses in SA, they’d make rapid antigen tests free and widely available. We can't afford Marshall's inaction on this crucial measure. It's time for him to step up and make rapid antigen tests free and accessible.”


All media enquiries to:

Dale Beasley

Secretary, SA Unions

170 Greenhill Rd Parkside 5063

Tel: 08 8279 2222