CLEANERS employed in the Presbyterian primary school system who returned to work on Monday, have been advised by the president of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke to stay at home as schools remain closed.
Even though Duke does not represent the cleaners, he said they are not essential and coming out to work is contrary to the Public Health Ordinance Ch 12 No 4.
He wrote to the general secretary of the Presbyterian Primary Schools Board of Education, Geeta K Maharaj, advising the board to comply with the ordinance.
However, a member of the board said neither Duke nor the PSA had any standing with it.
Notwithstanding, the board was expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the content of Duke’s letter.
In his letter, Duke said it was brought to the PSA’s attention that all cleaners were instructed to return to work with effect on May 18, against the instruction of the Prime Minister for non-essential workers to continue to stay at home.
“It must be noted that the decision not to undergo the full reopening of this country’s operations is an attempt by government to combat the second wave of the covid19 virus.”
He said these measures are in place to limit the impact and crippling effects this pandemic could potentially have on this country.
“There has been daily encouragement from these officials for persons to obey the measure put in place to safeguard this country. This association deems it quite irresponsible for the board to use its office to coerce workers to do otherwise while putting their own welfare at risk.
“It is clearly understood that these cleaners are not categorised as essential and therefore cannot be instructed to resume work at this time.”
He warned the board that Section 2 (2) of the Public Health Ordinance Chp 12 No 4 states that a person who contravenes this regulation commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a $50,000 fine and imprisonment for six.
He referred to Section 3(1) of the ordinance which spells out that a person shall not, without reasonable justification, be at any workplace unless the work is regarded as essential and it is not practicable for the person to work for home.
In the circumstance he has advised the cleaners to stay at home.