Hundreds of striking public hospital staff occupied the headquarters of the Hospital Authority on Friday, demanding to meet management over their demands for a complete border closure and better protective gear for frontline medical workers, in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the mainland.
The Hospital Authority Employees Alliance will hold a vote later to decide whether to continue their industrial action, which has already gone on for five days.
The group’s vice-chairman Ivan Law said if 6,000 of the alliance's members pledge to continue to strike, the industrial action will go on.
Alliance chairperson Winnie Yu demanded to know how staff can go back to work when a community outbreak is underway, when some frontline staff at Accident and Emergency Departments don’t have protective N95 masks.
The authority said hospital services have been seriously affected due to the thousands of staff who have stayed away from work since Monday.
Lifts at HA headquarters were locked down, but angry medics made their way up the stairs in an attempt to confront executives who they accused of ‘hiding in their offices”.
There were dramatic scenes as one man dropped to his knees as he spotted an executive on the fourth floor of the building, who quickly turned away.
The emotional man then appeared to faint, and paramedics quickly arrived to help him.
A number of union members then piled into a corridor on the fourth floor to wait for management figures to come downstairs for talks.
The authority released a statement saying it ‘regrets’ the occupation of its headquarters.
A spokesman said members of the alliance had barged in without any regard for the safety of their colleagues, and had disturbed their work.
He added that management have all along been communicating with the union, with a fourth meeting scheduled to take place on Friday. He said the authority is hoping for ‘concrete and constructive’ talks with representatives to resolve problems together, and again urged all staff to get back to work to serve the public.
Last updated: 2020-02-07 HKT 13:41
Striking staff occupy Hospital Authority HQ
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