S'wak MTUC calls for 'total lockdown', urgent vaccination of workers

S'wak MTUC calls for 'total lockdown', urgent vaccination of workers
S'wak MTUC calls for 'total lockdown', urgent vaccination of workers

The Sarawak Malaysian Trade Union Council (MTUC) and Sarawak Bank Employees Union have called on the state government to enforce a total lockdown amid rising Covid-19 infections.

Sarawak MTUC secretary Andrew Lo, who is also Sarawak Bank Employees Union chief executive officer, also called for essential service workers to be vaccinated urgently.

He said since Covid-19 cases nationwide and in the state had reached record highs, the only sensible move is to announce a complete lockdown and provide wage subsidy for all workers in the private sector.

"Almost a year of half-baked measures, u-turns, the most confusing SOPs (standard operating procedures), and chest-thumping by ministers have led us to this dismal situation," he said in a statement.

The Sarawak government previously responded to Putrajaya's announcement of a two-week lockdown from June 1 to June 14 by stating that it will maintain a movement control order status.

Sarawak Tourism, Culture, and Arts Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah reportedly said there would be no full closure of the state's economic and social sectors.

Lo noted there are legitimate grounds for complaints as ordinary people felt the impact of failed leaders and policies.

In supporting Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah's call for a self-lockdown, he said it would be an impossible option without income security for workers.

"Businesses and employers also need assistance. In this regard, we proposed the burden to be equally shared between government, employers, and workers.

"The government should provide a 1/3 subsidy, employers to pay 1/3, and workers to sacrifice 1/3 of their wages, subject to a minimum wage of RM1,200," he said.

Lo added that the government must also ensure food security for all, including unemployed workers as well as migrant workers.