Healthcare workers’ union granted meeting with MOH after protest against employer Edgenta UEMS
The National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services handing the memorandum to the Health Ministry in Putrajaya, April 8, 2021. — Picture from Twitter/Bila Kami Bersatu

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (NUWHSAS) has been granted a meeting with the Health Ministry to address hospital workers’ complaints filed against service provider employer Edgenta UEMS Sdn Bhd.

The union executive secretary M Saraswathy said the memorandum submitted to the ministry today highlights problems faced by hospital workers including being overworked and wrongful termination.

“In our memorandum we demanded the Health Ministry to interfere in four matters including, dismissal of a 60-year-old worker without valid reason; transportation to and from workplace discontinued; workers forced to work too many locations; and tortured and threatened,” she said when contacted by Malay Mail.

According to Saraswathy, this is not the first time that the union has brought these matters to the Health Ministry.

However to date, despite multiple complaints brought to the ministry, there was no improvement to the workers’ welfare.

“Last year in July we met the Health Ministry, they said they will try to look into it and perhaps call for a meeting.

“There was no news until today, but the complaints from the workers kept coming.

“We are a national union, we have to do something about our members’ complaints,” she said.

Finally today, Saraswathy said the Health Ministry corporate communication department officer Mona Ang said a meeting will be called to mediate issues between Edgenta UEMS Sdn Bhd and the union.

“We’re really glad that they have promised to call for an engagement session between Edgenta UEMS Sdn Bhd and the union and the session will be chaired by the ministry.

“We really hope that they will honour their promise made today,” she said.

Prior to today’s submission of memorandum, workers who claimed being mistreated by Edgenta UEMS Sdn Bhd had in June last year been arrested for picketing for workers’ rights.

UEM Edgenta Bhd has since published a statement asserting that the activities that led to the union’s allegations were part of a restructuring stemming from an in-sourcing arrangement by Edgenta Mediserve, which was subcontracted for cleaning services awarded to Edgenta UEMS from January 1.

Edgenta Mediserve is the sister company of the Edgenta UEMS, and the NUWHSAS alleged that the changes from the restructuring were a union-busting tactic.