The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress extends its salutations to the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services in embarking on a motorcade from Penang to Putrajaya in pursuit of their legitimate claims for employment security and recognition as frontline public health workers.
To undertake such a hazardous road trip speaks volumes of the courage and unwavering commitment of the leadership of the union in their efforts to seek justice for their colleagues.
They are, without a shadow of a doubt, true brave hearts! To them, our salutations yet again.
Almost all the time, those in the corridors of power elect to brush aside the legitimate demands of the marginalised segment of society.
But it is heartening that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin took the initiative to meet the union’s representatives upon their arrival in Putrajaya. Even more significant is his undertaking to seek a comprehensive resolution to the workers’ predicament.
We in Penang MTUC believe that Khairy will seek a just solution to the injustice that workers in the hospital support services are facing. We also earnestly hope the minister will ensure that the hospital support services workers are absorbed as civil servants under the Ministry of Health.
The current plight of the workers in the hospital support services is a result of the privatisation of healthcare support services by the then Barisan Nasional government.
Those, who were beneficiaries of the privatisation reaped benefits while the workers were conscripted to toil under conditions that may well attract comparison to modern-day slavery!
Given the severity of the situation, we believe the only honourable option for the government is to restore the status quo by absorbing these workers into the public service scheme of employment.
K Veeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress