COVID-19: Cleaners are also #frontliners and eligible for RM600 allowance

COVID-19: Cleaners are also #frontliners and eligible for RM600 allowance

PUCHONG: The government had announced Bantuan Elaun Khas RM600 for doctors and medical personnel but cleaners who work in hospital felt left out as they were not recognised as the front liners.  

In a statement issued by Sarasvathy representing the Union of Private Employees Support Services today said doctors, medical personnel, cleaners and hospital’s support workers are the front liners who sacrifice for the country and safety of people during this outbreak.

However, the reality is cleaners and support workers are not recognised as front liners and cast aside.

“Why only doctors and medical personnel considered as the front liners? Hospital cleaners also works with doctors and medical personnel through these difficult times but why such discrimination,” she said.

Sarasvathy further slammed the discrimination reflected in the announcement of the People’s Economic Stimulus Package by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin on March 27.

“In the Package, RM600 Special Allowance Assistance per month will be provided to doctors and medical personnel beginning April 1 meanwhile Private Employees Support Services at Peninsular Government of Peninsular Malaysia (KPSPSHKSM) are disappointed with this announcement as hospital cleaning workers set aside altogether.

“Why is the blue collar set aside and the white collar given priority when both groups playing their part in preventing the COVID-19 outbreak and trying to keep Malaysians safe together,” she added.

She also underline cleaners important role in dealing with serious situations today. They sacrifices and risk themselves to keep everyone safe.

“The cleaners are also the heroes of the country who are at the forefront with doctors and medical personnel and are committed to protect Malaysians from COVID-19,” Sarasvathy said.

In fact, employers do not even provide PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as face mask, glove and apron to adequate cleaners in government hospitals.

The lack of PPE supply indicates that employers are also not responsible for the safety of workers.

“Workers’ safety is underestimated and ignored even though they are front liners during this pandemic,” she said in the statement.

Cleaners in government hospitals were contracted to 5 principal employers, Edgenta Mediserve Sdn. Bhd., Medivest Sdn.Bhd., Radicare Sdn. Bhd., Sedafiat Sdn. Bhd., and One Medicare Sdn. Bhd.

Until 1996, cleaners were government employees, who received all the benefits and provided by the government.

Unfortunately, when privatisation was introduced by Tun Dr Mahathir in 1996, was a contract worker and contracted while working in a government hospital.

“Because of this contract system, workers are only paid a minimum wage and benefits even if they are employed for a long time in government hospitals,” it said.

Therefore, KPSPSHKSM called on the government to recognise hospital cleaners as front liners and provide equal treatment to all the front liners involved in this pandemic.

KPSPSHKSM also hopes the government appreciates the sacrifices of cleaners and support workers in government hospitals who are at the forefront of the prevention of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“KPSPSHKSM called on the government to provide RM600 allowance for cleaning workers at government hospitals and the allowance was continued to be paid to the workers,” it said.

According to a report by the Director General of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday, the death toll by COVID-19 outbreak hits 35.

By S Jeevita