The National Union Of Workers In Hospital Support And Allied Services (Union) was established in 1997. On 23 October 2019, the first Collective Agreement (CA) was signed between the Union and their then employer, NS Medik Sdn Bhd (NS Medik). The CA’s currency was for a period of three (3) years running from 10 August 2017 to 09 August 2020 – CA Cognizance No: 274/2019.
However, in a strange turn of events, NS Medik’s contract as cleaning contractor was replaced with UEMS, a subsidiary of UEM Edgenta Berhad effective 01 January 2020.
Ever since and even before the takeover, UEMS had already started interfering into the daily hospital cleaning operations, carrying out blatant union busting actions. The UEMS interference was without any notice nor announcement.
The Union had, even from then (July 2019), reported the third party interference of UEMS to the Industrial Relations Department (IRD) There have been at least five (5) meetings held to attempt to amicably resolve the union busting issue. All the time, the meetings would end with a comitment from UEMS that there will be no more of such actions. Nevertheless, nothing has stopped, nothing has changed! In fact, the situation has gotten worse leading to the industrial picket on 02 June 2020.
Pursuant to the Industrial action (i.e. the picket undertaken by the Union on 02 June 2020) UEM Edgenta had issued an update of sorts dated 03 June 2020 containing misinformation and untruths! The Union believes that the so-called update was done on behalf of Edgenta UEMS, the immediate employer.
However, the Union wishes to reiterate that the picket outside the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh was held to address only one (1) single specific issue (faced by union members and Union committees.) That one issue is the ongoing vicious and aggressive union busting by UEMS Supervisors acting upon the behest of one Ms Sumathi Sengiah, UEMS Regional Manager.
Union busting comes in many forms and ways. The common approaches undertaken by employers include victimization, harassment, intimidation, denial of fair treatment in the assigning of jobs, indiscriminate transfer of work station/ site and/or shift, arbitrary and unilateral instructions (i.e. cannot meet union members during non-working hours, cannot collect union dues, cannot move out of work station even during non-working hours, breaking into personal lockers etc.) During the picket, the placards carried by the workers were as follows which reflected that one issue of concern:
EDGENTA UEMS HENTIKAN PEMERASAN KESATUAN (UNION BUSTING)
Ahli Kesatuan X boleh berkumpul masa rehat
Ahli Kesatuan X boleh keluar makan
Ahli Kesatuan DITUKAR Lokasi & Shift
Ahli Kesatuan X boleh kutip yuran
HENTIKAN SERTA MERTA PEMBUNUHAN KESATUAN
JANGAN BUNUH KESATUAN SUMATHI Regional Manager (UEMS)
TAMIL SELVEE, THEN MOLI, NORIZAN Penyelia UEMS
Mereka Mangsakan Pekerja & Ahli Kesatuan
UEM Edgenta’s update raised eleven (11) issues, which they claimed were supposedly reasons for the picket by the Union. The Union categorically denies that there were eleven issues for the picket. As explained above UEM Edgenta sited six points (6) that was supposedly raised by the
Union as reasons for the picket. Nevertheless, they are all Union Busting actions in various forms,
NOs : 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7
- Edgenta UEMS (“Ed-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 force 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 staff
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 RM1,100 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.