Chinese broker Founder Securities is pressuring its Hong Kong staff members to participate in the city’s mass coronavirus testing programme, according to a labour union formed last year to represent financial workers in the city.
Founder Securities told employees to present their results to the company’s human resources department as proof they took part and failure to do so would be considered as part of the employee’s work performance, according to the Hong Kong Financial Industry Employees General Union.
In a letter posted on its Facebook page, the union criticised the move by Founder Securities, saying the citywide tests are voluntary in nature and workers have the right to choose whether to participate “based on their actual needs and wishes”. The union also asked Founder Securities to respond to its concerns.
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Founder Securities did not respond to a request to comment on Tuesday.
The mass testing programme is designed to locate asymptomatic carriers in hopes of reducing the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the disease Covid-19, after a third wave of cases in the city this summer.
The weeklong programme, however, has sparked controversy because of the involvement of mainland medical officials and concerns raised by some activists about the accuracy of the testing effort.
A group of activists led by Joshua Wong Chi-fung and the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance, a union formed last year to represent frontline staff at public hospitals, called for a boycott of the testing scheme on Sunday.
The State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and Beijing’s liaison office both issued statements on Sunday sticking back at the programme’s critics, saying they were “disregarding Hongkongers’ health and well-being”.
The Hong Kong government said on Sunday that “a number of exaggerated and false comments” about the programme circulated online and on social media, which contained “fallacious information” about the way specimens will be collected, infection control and the accuracy and effectiveness of testing.
“The government has reasons to believe that the recent fallacious messages are deliberate attempts to scare people, intending to smear the [testing programme] and mislead members of the public in order to deter them from taking part,” the government said in a statement.
More than 10,000 Hong Kong residents were tested in the first two hours of the screening programme on Tuesday.
More than 553,000 residents signed up for the programme as of 6pm Hong Kong time on Monday, but the government is hoping to test a majority of the city’s residents.
More from South China Morning Post:
- What you need to know about Hong Kong’s mass Covid-19 testing
- Mainland representatives lash out at critics of mass Covid-19 testing scheme, accusing them of ‘slander’ and ‘despicable behaviour’
This article Chinese broker pressuring Hong Kong employees to join city’s coronavirus testing programme, union says first appeared on South China Morning Post