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Coronavirus: Do Qantas workers have the right to refuse to clean planes from China?

A Qantas employee has reportedly been stood down for telling cleaners they didn’t have to clean planes that had come from China, where coronavirus originated.

Alan Jones exclusively revealed a “highly trained health and safety representative” told colleagues they didn’t have to service and clean the plane if they had a reasonable concern for their health and safety.

He was subsequently stood down, according to the Transport Workers Union.

Qantas is standing by its decision, insisting the risk of cleaners contracting coronavirus from an aircraft is “very low”.

Human Resources lawyer Michael Burns explains both sides of the argument to Ben Fordham.

“If I was acting for Qantas, I would say this is a reasonable and lawful direction… because objectively assessed, the risk is really low.

“If it was the Wuhan plane itself, then you might argue that the plane is particularly infectious… but for a plane coming from another city within China, the argument would be the risk is much lower.

“For the employee… you’d try and gather up medical evidence that suggests it’s not as safe as Qantas is suggesting, and secondly, you would argue that psychologically, this is damaging.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

 

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Image: Getty/HECTOR RETAMAL

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