JBS reopens its doors

Victoria's biggest abattoir has been cleared to reopen

Coronavirus
PLANT REOPENED: JBS has reopened its Brooklyn plant.

PLANT REOPENED: JBS has reopened its Brooklyn plant.

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JBS' Brooklyn plant has reopened, after closing due to coronavirus infections among staff.

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Victoria's biggest abattoir, JBS Brooklyn, has reopened, after temporarily closing when staff tested positive to coronavirus, earlier this month.

Yesterday, the plant was linked to 69 cases.

Sunday's Victorian coronavirus figures stood at 8181, including 459 new cases.

Laverton North processor Diamond Valley Pork is the latest facility, to shut down, due to coronavirus.

Read more

Pork processor latest abattoir to be hit by coronavirus

A JBS spokesman said the company had worked closely with Victoria Health and the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure the workplace was COVID safe.

Read more:

Victorian meatworks coronavirus cases grow

JBS and Pacific Meats hit by coronavirus

Analysts fears over prolonged Brooklyn shutdown

JBS Brooklyn is the state's largest meat-processing facility, employing 1230 Victorians; it closed its doors on July 5, after four employees tested positive to coronavirus.

The latest coronavirus figures in abattoirs and meatworks are:

  • 90 cases have been linked to Somerville Retail Services in Tottenham
  • 69 cases have been linked to JBS in Brooklyn
  • 60 cases have been linked to Bertocchi Smallgoods in Thomastown
  • 47 cases have been linked to Australian Lamb Company in Colac
  • 6 cases have been linked Diamond Valley Pork in Laverton North
  • 5 cases have been linked to Don KR Castlemaine

"Since the facility's temporary closure, our entire JBS Brooklyn workforce has been tested for COVID-19,' the spokesman said.

"We will continue to rigorously test our employees going forward, mindful that the safe continuation of operations at Brooklyn is in the best interests of local jobs, the local economy, and the continuity of meat supply for both Australia and the export market."

During the shutdown, stock was sent to South Australia and NSW for processing.

The spokesman said in addition to the deep-clean of the Brooklyn facility, the company would be conducting frequent and comprehensive cleaning of workplace areas.

It would continue to enforce the physical separation policies between employees who worked in different processing areas, as well as the installation of perspex separators.

"The siloing of our different processing areas within the broader Brooklyn site will also ensure that any suspected new cases can be contained to an individual area without impacting workers on the rest of the site,' the spokesman said.

"State-of-the-art thermal temperature checking technology will continue to be employed at the Brooklyn facility - as it is at all our sites around the country - ensuring continuous monitoring of employee well-being."

The company had rolled out COVID safety education programs for all its employees, across all of its facilities around the country, with information available in multiple languages, reflecting the diverse cultures from which the workforce was drawn.

Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union state secretary Paul Conway said JBS would gradually open up more sections of the plant, as the week went on.

"From my perspective, the meat industry is an essential part of manufacturing in Australia and the last vestige of that sector," Mr Conway said.

The car and clothing industries would most likely have been affected by coronavirus, in the same way.

"You would have seen similar clusters, but there seems to be an over-concentration of interest in the industry with the most outbreaks.

"On the whole, especially from the union side, JBS have done their utmost to keep coronavirus, out of the works," he said.

"If you take JBS as a case in point, they are using thermal imaging, face masks, hand sanitiser andsocial isolation in the lunchrooms.

"They've been corresponding to us, on a fortnightly basis, and yet it has still got in there.

"When Cedar Meats first started, there were comments made about it going to be the tip of the iceberg.

"I said they are the first, but they won't be the last.'

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