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Metro Trains staff working at Flinders Street Station are angry they were not told a contract cleaner had tested positive to coronavirus until after they inadvertently found out a week later.
Cleaning company ISS informed its staff that a cleaner who regularly worked at Flinders Street had been at the railway station while infectious on Monday, June 15.
Metro officials say Flinders Street Station has been cleaned more often during the pandemic. CREDIT:JOE ARMAO
The cleaner was immediately sent home after feeling ill, and later tested positive for coronavirus. But Metro Trains did not tell its workers at the station for more than a week.
The rostering coordinator for ISS wrote in an email to cleaning staff: “Please be aware the risk to you is very low as this staff [member] has only attended site for 30 minutes within the past 14 days.”
Metro Trains staff stationed at Flinders Street only became aware of the coronavirus infection on Tuesday this week after that ISS email became more widely circulated.
Scott Erwin, from ISS, said in a statement that the cleaner worked at Flinders Street Station, but that they had been sent home immediately after arriving at work at Flinders Street Station. He also said the cleaner had not been at the station for two weeks before Monday, June 15.
A Metro Trains spokesman said the ISS cleaner "did not interact with any Metro employees during the period they were potentially infectious".
Rail Tram and Bus Union state secretary Luba Grigorovitch wrote to Metro Trains chief operating officer Catherine Baxter on Tuesday to request an urgent meeting.
“We believe that the station should be deep cleaned ASAP as a matter of urgency to alleviate staff concerns and that deep clean to cover all areas at Flinders Street including staff and public areas,” Ms Grigorovitch wrote.
The Age asked Metro Trains whether a "deep clean" was required in case the cleaner had touched surfaces the virus could spread from. The spokesman said that throughout the pandemic "cleaning has been increased on all trains and at stations. Staff are regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, including staff facilities, and deep-cleaning trains every night."
In a note to Metro staff on Tuesday, Ms Baxter wrote that the rail operator had “an appropriate and robust policy and procedure for dealing with all pandemic-related issues”.
She said that the “individual had not undertaken any work activity on Metro premises whilst potentially infectious”.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au