Doctors say hospital strike inquiry creating 'chilling effect'

Local | 16 Oct 2020 12:13 pm

The head of the Hong Kong Public Doctors' Association, Arisina Ma, has condemned the Hospital Authority for the way it is handling an inquiry into a strike by medical workers last February, saying it is indiscriminately chasing after members of staff and sparking tensions, RTHK reports.
Thousands of doctors, nurses and other hospital workers went on strike for five days to demand a complete closure of Hong Kong's border with the mainland, after the coronavirus epidemic erupted in the Hubei capital, Wuhan.
The authority is now seeking an explanation from workers who joined the industrial action as to why they were absent from duty.
But Ma said management are chasing almost all members of staff in one department, assuming they all took part in the strike, when a check of computer logs would reveal who was working and who was not.
She said even people who have already left the radiology department at Princess Margaret Hospital have received letters regarding the strike, as well as staff who only joined the department over the summer.
"Besides upsetting individual doctors it may also cause some tension among colleagues," she said. "Definitely one of the aims of this letter is to create a [chilling] effect."
Reports earlier said the head of the radiology department had refused to hand over a list of names of those who were absent during the strike period.
Describing the authority's move as "inappropriate," Ma called for management to arrange talks with the union which organized the strike, noting that the industrial action was legal under Hong Kong law.
In response to Ma's comments, the authority said the aim of the letter it sent was to confirm with staff the dates of their absences and the reasons.
A spokesman also said the authority had been handling the matter in a compassionate, reasonable and legal manner.


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