Australia Airport Staff Threaten Strike Without Virus Protection

(Bloomberg) -- The union representing security workers at Australia’s biggest airports threatened to strike unless members are given equipment to guard against the new coronavirus.

Some airport staff have been barred from wearing protective gear such as face masks to avoid upsetting customers, the United Workers Union said in a statement Friday. The union represents 150,000 workers in Australia from more than 45 industries.

“If the health and safety needs of these workers are not met, United Workers Union will direct members to cease work even if it means grounding every flight in the country,” Damien Davie, the union’s spokesman for property services, said in the statement.

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The death toll is at least 213 and confirmed cases in China have jumped to 9,692. There have been nine cases of infection in Australia.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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