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New Local Jobs Powering South Australia’s Health Response

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The Marshall Liberal Government has enlisted five local companies to produce up to 7000 clear plastic face shields per day as an additional line of defence for healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

Premier Steven Marshall said the production boost has created more than 55 local jobs, including 35 at Fusetech, which are stimulating the state’s economy as it navigates through challenging headwinds.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has always been a crisis on two fronts, health and economic, and my Government is committed to shielding South Australians from both,” Premier Marshall said.

“The production of face shields and other PPE locally is fast-tracking the state’s road to economic recovery by securing local jobs but also ensuring we have a reliable source of healthcare protection if required.

“The innovative and agile nature of South Australian business, complemented by a sustainable plan to keep the state moving forward will see South Australia come through this unprecedented crisis in a stronger position than before.”

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the demand for face shields had increased 50-fold since the global coronavirus pandemic reached South Australia just four months ago.

“Used in conjunction with other Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves, face shields provide potentially life-saving protection for the doctors and nurses who provide primary care to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients,” Minister Wade said.

“Manufactured to be both sturdy and comfortable to wear, this extra layer of defence from potentially infective droplets or fluids will give added confidence to healthcare staff as they go about their vital work.

“Despite our early success in stopping the spread of COVID-19, South Australia is not taking anything for granted – we are acting now to ensure we have all the PPE supplies required to protect our frontline healthcare workers in the event of any increase of COVID-19 in our state.”

The five local suppliers are Fusetec 3D, Neds Head, Form Cut, Cheiron Healthcare (working with the Royal Society of the Blind), and Motherson Medical.

SA Health Executive Director Andrea Andrews said manufacturing by four suppliers has already started, with the remaining to begin supplying products very shortly.

“SA Health has placed short run orders with each of these suppliers to ensure we can stock the face shields required to meet the immediate demand in our COVID-19 hospitals,” she said.

“We are delighted that local companies have collaborated with us to dramatically increase our supply of face shields in a very short time.

“Going forward, all of these suppliers will be included on the SA Health Apparel Panel so we have the ongoing ability to purchase supplies for the SA Health network from them, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

South Australia’s PPE stocks received a further boost recently, with Detmold receiving delivery of its third, fourth and fifth mask manufacturing machine at its Brompton factory.

The iconic South Australian packaging company has been contracted to produce millions of respirator and surgical masks for the South Australian and Federal Governments.

The newly arrived machine is their first for production of Level 3 surgical face masks and is expected to begin producing masks shortly, following set up and testing.

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Bam Construct axes up to 150 jobs

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Bam Construct is to cut up to 150 jobs, some 6.5 per cent of its workforce, the contractor has announced.

The firm, which has furloughed around 500 staff, said it has tried to avoid people losing their jobs, but that the drop in demand meant it would see a decline in turnover this year.

It follows a string of other contractors including Mace, Kier, Multiplex, Wates and Willmott Dixon in announcing job losses as a result of the crisis.

A spokesman said: “Bam has striven to avoid making redundancies, having taken early actions to combat the effects of COVID-19, with measures including furloughing almost 500 staff, making temporary pay cuts, stopping recruitment, and cancelling bonuses and all non-essential spending.

“We have continued to win profitable new business, which has also reduced the scale of redundancies.

“The coronavirus, however, is significantly affecting demand. We are already seeing a slowdown in new orders and we anticipate this will have an impact on our 2021 revenue.”

A consultation on the process has now started. The spokesman added that the firm is taking the action “reluctantly and with deep regret”, but it had to act to protect the business and future staffing levels.

Bam Construct was the UK’s 16th largest construction firm by turnover in 2019. Last week its parent company Royal Bam reported a £133m half-year loss as the coronavirus crisis hit its worldwide operations, citing shutdowns “in Ireland, Belgium and a large part of the UK” as a big part of its decline in revenue.

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Pret A Manger to shut 30 shops and cut 1,000 jobs

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Sandwich chain Pret A Manger is to close 30 outlets and is expected to cut at least 1,000 jobs at other shops as part of a post-pandemic restructuring.

The company said the impact of coronavirus on trading meant it had to make a “difficult decision”.

Pret said it needed to reduce headcount across its UK shops to “reflect lower footfall, rental costs and new safety measures”.

It did not say how many jobs would go, but a source confirmed more than 1,000.

About 330 jobs will be lost with the closure of the 30 shops. Pret said 339 of its 410 shops have so far reopened following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

‘Sad day’

But trading remains slow, with sales down 74% from a year earlier, the company said. Pret is thought to be losing about £20m a month.

Chief executive Pano Christou said: “It’s a sad day for the whole Pret family, and I’m devastated that we will be losing so many employees. But we must make these changes to adapt to the new retail environment.

“Our goal now is to bring Pret to more people, through different channels and in new ways, enabling us to grow once more in the medium term.”

Pret is reliant on sales from commuters and lunchtime office workers, which are sources of revenue acutely affected by the lockdown.

The company is broadening its sales with a retail coffee initiative with Amazon and a delivery partnership with Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats. There are also click and collect trials in five shops in London.

Pret said sales across these digital channels have already grown 480% year-on-year, and now represent over 8% of total UK sales.

The company is in talks with landlords about reducing its rent bill.In May, it appointed advisory firms to help restructure the business, and in April it raised €100m (£90m) in emergency funding from its banks.

Pret, which owns 550 outlets globally employing 13,000 staff, including 8,000 in the UK, is the latest High Street food chain to announce cuts.

Last week, SSP Group, which runs Upper Crust and Ritazza, said it would cut 5,000 staff, more than half its UK workforce.

In addition, The Restaurant Group, which runs Frankie & Benny’s and Wagamama, and Cafe Rouge-owner Casual Dining Group, have announced more than 4,500 job cuts between them.

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4 men die, 1 woman injured in fiery crash | News, Sports, Jobs

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DES MOINES — Four men died and a woman was injured in a fiery single-vehicle crash southwest of downtown Des Moines early Sunday.

Des Moines Police said the crash happened around 2:30 a.m. Sunday on George Flagg Parkway near Water Works Park. The 2013 Volkswagen Golf caught fire after crashing into a tree with five people inside.

An officer responding to the crash was able to pull a 22-year-old woman from the wreck. Police said she was in serious condition at a hospital.

The vehicle’s 22-year-old driver and three passengers, ages 22, 23 and 24, died in the crash. Their names weren’t immediately released.

Police said excessive speed was a factor in the crash.

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