Woolworths said it had not been involved in the decision to allow COVID-19 positive staff to return to work. 

It said it had decided to suspend “all supply through Tey’s South Australian facility while we work with Teys, SA Health and Safework SA to understand the protocols currently in place for their team and operations”.

A Woolworths spokeswoman told AAP it expected all of its suppliers to adhere to the COVID safety protocols set by their relevant state authorities. 

Speaking in response to the change in safety policy, Ms O’Neil said it was “an important victory for the workers at Teys Naracoorte and working people everywhere”.

“Teys is part of Cargill, the world’s largest food business, and Woolworths is one of Australia’s biggest companies. This was an important stand against big business putting workers health and safety at extreme risk.”

‘Let down by government’

The abattoir workers SBS News spoke to say they feel let down by their employer as well as the South Australian health authorities. 

One said they “felt sick in the guts” when they were told they had permission to keep working despite testing positive.  

“I could go back and get someone else sick … I could kill someone and I really didn’t want that …”

“It’s not like we are in the military where there’s an expectation. We process meat.”

“I feel like they all let me down.”