Arrests disrupt peaceful protest by hospital support workers’ union

2nd June, 2020 . 1pm – Members of the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (NUWHSAS) have been arrested by the police just now for carrying out a peaceful protest against their union-busting employer Edgenta UEMS at the Ipoh Hospital. The union members are cleaning workers at the government hospitals in Malaysia’s northern states.

  • 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.
  • Workers active in the union have also been punished by arbitrarily transferring them out to hospitals far away from their residence.
  • Workers are forced to work longer hours without overtime pay.
  • Forbidding union activities – disallowing union worksite committees 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, threatening disciplinary action.
  • Blatant discrimination of union members, by not allowing them an opportunity to work overtime to increase their earnings. Employers openly intimidate that those involved in union activities will be denied overtime work.
  • Constant verbal harassment and intimidation by Edgenta UEMS supervisors towards the union worksite committee.
    • Furthermore, Edgenta UEMS has denied proper PPE equipment when they clean Covid 19 wards and facilities, putting them at great risk of infection.
    • Inadequate supply of facemask and gloves in particular.
    • Denied special government allowance of RM600 to frontline workers. Edgenta UEMS were only paid a one off token sum of RM300 . Doctors, nurses and other medical staff have been paid the front liner assistance payment, but cleaners are denied this payment.
    • Workers only earn a minimum wage of RM1100 per month. No annual increment in wages, so all workers irrespective of their years of service earn only a meagre wage. No increment of eligible number of annual paid holidays or sick leave in accordance with worker seniority.
    • Discontinuing subsidized transport services for workers to travel to and from hospitals to work, causing further hardship and extra cost to workers.

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