I have wondered whether or not it would be appropriate to blog about the recent cleaners strike at the hospital. I'm still not quite sure, but seeing as I am only stating what happened and stimulating some thought, I think it should be okay.
You see, a few weeks ago the cleaners went on strike. The day before the strike they posted a note which stated that "if in 24 hours time their three month salaries are not paid there will be a strike action". And strike they did.
When I think about a strike, I think about people not showing up to work, or people rallying outside the work place making a lot of noise, waving banners, etc. By definition a strike is 'a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work'. Well, the cleaners strikes I have witnessed here (this was the second in the past year and a half) are by far the boldest I can imagine. I never expected them to do what they did on those strike days. They actually did show up at the hospital believe it or not, but rather than refrain from cleaning, they did quite the opposite. They literally took wheelbarrows of trash from the garbage heap outside and dumped them in the hospital. It's hard to imagine, I know. But it happened.
Basically it led to patients and parents evacuating the wards and hospital staff not wanting to go in to work due to the amount of trash in the place. It was dire. But, it also led to action. Strangely enough, within three hours, the cleaners were promised their pay by the higher unknown powers that be and they got busy cleaning up the very mess they had made. How ironic.
Extreme measures, for desperate people.
I can't say I agree with their method of striking. To be honest, I was mad. I think it's fine to strike to make a poin but to go to the extreme of trashing a hospital? That to me is unacceptable. Just think of the health risks. And the delay in children receiving treatment because the hospital staff can't work under such conditions. On the other hand, maybe it was the only way someone would listen. I don't know.
What would you do if you were working at a hospital as a cleaner and didn't receive your salary for three months? Would you simply not show up to work? Do you think anyone would respond to that? Would you continue waiting to see if you get paid while your family is struggling to survive? Or would you do what it takes to move someone to action and go to the extreme of dumping trash inside a paediatric ward. It's hard to know what you would do when you're not the one waiting for your salary day in and day out. What do you think?