Contract workers ‘pose hygiene threat’

Striking workers at the Rainbow Chickens processing plant in Worcester say hundreds of contract workers live on the premises with no washing facilities.

In addition, workers claim, when they are kitted out in their white protective clothing they walk to use toilets, which is not permitted.

The workers have been part of a nationwide strike since May 26.

They are demanding a R500 a month pay increase and a reduction in working hours from 45 hours a week to 40.

Solinda Hector, a general contract worker, explained that people in protective clothing were not allowed to leave the premises or to visit the bathroom.

“That is a huge hygiene hazard because they could return with germs on their shoes and clothing,” she said.

Hector added that even when workers eat, they are supposed to remove their protective gear and place it in a special locker.

Group human resources and corporate affairs director of Rainbow Chicken Stephen Heath denied Hector’s allegations, saying there were toilet and shower facilities.

He also insisted workers were not leaving the premises in their protective gear.

On Friday, three police cars were parked outside the premises as striking workers protested opposite them, kept out by rolls of barbed wire.

Temporary workers who have continued working through the strike are being housed in two big white tents. – Natasha Bezuidenhout

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