Staff irate as virus-hit factory stays open

Staff irate as virus-hit factory stays open

Workers went on strike on Monday after at least 60 of their colleagues tested positive for Covid-19 and their sewing factory refused to shut down for cleaning.

The factory, located on Chaeng Watthana Road in Pak Kret district of Nonthaburi, discovered at least 60 of its workers had contracted the virus. The infected workers were transferred either to a hospital or a so-called hospitel, or hospital-cum-hotel, in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok on Sunday.

The transfer followed mass testing conducted at the factory which employs 1,700 workers, 700 of whom are migrants.

After news of the Covid-19 detection spread, remaining workers learned the factory had opened as usual. The management warned them they would face a pay cut if they failed to show up for work yesterday morning, according to Tharnthip Sirivikorn, secretary of the company's labour union.

A group of workers gathered at the factory premises but refused to go inside the building. They demanded the company close for cleaning and until the Covid-19 test results for all workers were known.

"The workers want to be able to take a day off to protect themselves. They're afraid they will catch the virus and spread it further if they get down to work right away," she said.

Watcharapong Moonmanee, assistant chief of the district, led the labour protection and security authorities in trying to resolve the problem and end the rally.

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