They Need To Breath Too – Health and Finance Minister!
Stop The intimidation on Hospital Cleaners
PSM welcomes the decision of Magistrate Azuratul Akmar for refusing further remand of the five and ordered the police to release them latest by 6pm today as soon fingerprints and other records are settled. Though VIP and their family get special treatment from the police when they break MCO laws, yet 5 unionist and supporters from the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (NUWHSAS) were not given the same equal treatment. Unlike the VIPs, the Union actually did a peacefully picket following strict SOP since they were in the hospital line and they knew their responsibility.
What was shocking was the police requested a 4 day remand, the maximum allowed under the CPC and the IO has further indicated that they plan to charge them tomorrow. This is blatant abuse of law as even before investigating the person as they requested under Section 117, they police have actually decided to charge the person indicating that there was no need for the remand. PSM calls upon the police to stop any attempt to charge the Unionist as it is waste of public funds and time besides it does not address the core issues raised by the Union. In fact the Union took the desperate step to picket during MCO because their entire attempt to raise the matter was met with deaf ear from their employer Edgenta UEMS at the Ipoh Hospital. In fact Edgenta exploited the MCO period to engage on Union Busting activities. These workers need to breathe too.
PSM thank our lawyers Balakrishnan, K.Kunasekaran and KS Bawani for representing the five and all concerned citizens, organizations for voicing out their support, solidarity against the arrest. There were also spontaneous petition and condemnation from international groups as well. It is time the Government especially the Health ministry and Finance Ministry who appointed Edgenta UEMS a GLC to apprehend the situation rather than taking a back seat. The Government is the main employer and needs to resolve this matter. GLC; Edgenta UEMS has embarked on widespread union busting activities in all its hospitals, attacking union members and worksite committee members. Union members especially worksite committee members have been subjected to deliberate changing of their working hours and shifts unilaterally without prior consent from them while workers active in the union have also been punished by arbitrarily transferring them out of the hospitals far away from their residence.
The Union lost further breathing space to address this when union worksite committees were disallowed to have discussions with workers even during their legitimate break time, threatening disciplinary action against union officials, intimidating workers by taking photos of workers meeting union worksite committee as well as threatening disciplinary action. The cleaners have previous complained that they were denied proper PPE equipment when they clean Covid 19 wards and facilities, putting them at great risk of infection besides having inadequate supply of facemask and gloves. These workers were further discriminated when they were denied special government allowance of RM600 to frontline workers which were paid to Doctors, nurses and other medical staff in the front line.
Therefore the poorest section of the front liners earning a minimum wage of RM1100 per month and no annual increment in wages are further discriminated when they are not even given the token RM 600. Now when they highlight their plight, they are arrested and now threatened to be charged. They need to breathe too.
PSM Deputy Chairperson
2.55pm 3rd June 2020