Hospital Cleaners ride motorbikes from Penang to Putrajaya to highlight the discrimination of the contract system on frontliners.
[UPDATED] Hospital cleaners to head to Putrajaya with demands for better treatment
Convoy scheduled to take place from February 5 to 8
By Qistina Nadia Dzulkarnain
Updated 2 weeks ago · Published on 21 Jan 2022 1:56PM
KUALA LUMPUR – A national union of hospital cleaners is organising a motorcycle convoy from Penang to Putrajaya where they intend to submit a memorandum to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in a bid to claim their rights.
In a press conference today, the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (NUWHSAS) announced that the convoy, scheduled to take place from February 5 to 8, will consist of hospital cleaners protesting the contract system.
Other demands of the movement include payment of Covid-19 allowances to government hospital cleaners and for hospital management to stop the intimidation of those involved in workers’ unions.
NUWHSAS chairman Roziah Mohamed Hashim said that the riders’ part of the expedition, consisting mostly of female workers, will be visiting hospitals from states along the way to collect complaint letters prepared by support staff workers unable to physically attend the trip.
“The usage of only motorcycles in the convoy is symbolic of the low salary received by hospital cleaners who are employed on a contract basis, which makes it difficult for them to purchase other forms of transport,” she explained.
Justifying the need for such a campaign, NUWHSAS executive secretary Sarasvathy Muthu pointed out that despite the union having already sent in five memorandums to the Health Ministry since 2015, there has yet to be any sort of positive engagement from the ministry.
“Hospital cleaners are the backbone of the health industry, yet the government refuses to address our concerns when they are the only ones who can help our situation through policy changes.
“This is an urgent matter. Without hospital cleaners, what will happen to hospitals?” she pressed, noting that the lack of care towards the labourers is disappointing, as their job duties put them at the frontlines of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also present at the event was former Batu Gajah Hospital cleaner Rita Santaran, who alleged that her contract had been terminated because of her active involvement in the hospital’s workers’ union.
Claiming to be one of the victims of union busting, she expressed her hopes for the ministry to stop the browbeating of workers’ unions and called for an immediate resolution to the plight faced by contract staff.
Seeing how the expenses for the trip will be coming out of the riders’ own pockets, NUWHSAS industry relations officer Chong Yee Shan said that members of the public interested in supporting their cause can donate to their crowdfund.
“Contributions will help the workers stay safe, well-fed, and well-rested on the road,” she said, adding that regular updates on the amount raised will be shared to NUWHSAS’s social media platforms.
Those who are interested in donating can do so by transferring funds to the Community Women & Workers Network Consultancy (CWWN) Public Bank account at 3209530324 with the reference as ‘Motor’. – The Vibes, January 21, 2022