Five hospital cleaners nabbed in union-busting protest: Malaysia Socialist Party

Union members protesting outside Ipoh Hospital. Photo: Terry Nur Iman / Twitter
Union members protesting outside Ipoh Hospital. Photo: Terry Nur Iman / Twitter

Five hospital cleaners, who were also union members, were today arrested during a peaceful protest against their employer’s alleged union-busting tactics, according to Malaysia’s Socialist Party

The members of the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services, or NUWHSAS, were arrested in the afternoon, while the protest was taking place outside the public hospital in Ipoh, its statement said. They are contracted by the UEMS Edgenta Berhad healthcare support company, which manages the hospital. 

Photos posted online showed police at the scene where protestors were holding up signs that read “JANGAN BUNUH KESATUAN (DON’T KILL THE UNION)” and “EDGENTA UEMS HENTIKAN PEMERASAN KESATUAN (EDGENTA UEMS MUST STOP PERSECUTING THE UNION).”

The union’s executive secretary M Saraswathy was among those arrested, the statement added. It also alleged that UEMS Edgenta had embarked on purported union-busting tactics such as denying proper PPE equipment for union members. 

According to the statement, union members also claimed that they were allegedly denied the monthly special government allowance worth RM600 (US$140) meant for frontline workers, and were instead given a one-off cash token worth RM300.

UEMS Edgenta did not respond immediately to Coconuts KL’s request for comment through email.

Months ago, UEMS Edgenta came under fire in late March after a union worker said that the company had allegedly blocked eight cleaners at Teluk Intan Hospital in Perak from being tested for COVID-19.

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