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Regent's dismissal of striking medical workers 'maladministration': Ombudsman

Jakarta Post - July 23, 2020

Jakarta – The South Sumatra Ombudsman has declared Ogan Ilir Regent Ilyas Panji Alam's dismissal of 109 medical workers from the Ogan Ilir Regional General Hospital (RSUD) a "maladministration".

On May 20, 109 medical workers – including 14 specialist doctors, eight general practitioners, 33 civil servant nurses and 11 honorary staff members – were dismissed after going on strike over a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), low wages and the absence of proper shelter for medical workers.

The regent called the strike "baseless", claiming the administration had met most of the medical workers' demands. Ilyas accused them of being afraid to treat COVID-19 patients, adding that they had been absent from their duties for five days.

South Sumatra Ombudsman official M. Adrian Agustiansyah said on Wednesday that the accusations against the medical workers were not appropriately explained to authorities in charge of ethics, such as the Ogan Ilir RSUD internal supervisory officers, the Indonesian Nurses Association (PPNI) or the Indonesian Midwives Association (IBI), according to kompas.com.

The South Sumatra Ombudsman found that between May 15 and 20, all the 109 medical workers had been on duty and no one had been absent for five days in a row, despite the accusation.

"Two medical workers were on maternity leave, and one person had resigned from the job," Adrian said, adding that within the five days, some medical workers had taken the regular one or two days off.

"Lastly, there are no appointment letters or official documents mentioning that the 109 medical workers were employed at the Ogan Ilir RSUD. [We found] only a letter of honorarium pay by the regent and an agreement letter for their employment guidelines," he added.

Based on the findings, the regional Ombudsman instructed the regent to retract the dishonorable dismissal of the 109 medical workers. The organization also demanded the regency administration restore the standing of the medical workers in their jobs at the hospital.

"The South Sumatera Ombudsman also demanded the regent evaluate the hospital's management, including the director of the Ogan Ilir RSUD as the top official in charge of management," Adrian Added.

"The evaluation must involve the Ogan Ilir Inspectorate as the Government Internal Supervisory Agency (APIP). In this way, any violations found will result in sanctions or counselling."

The regent was given 30 working days to fulfill the corrective actions required by the regional Ombudsman.

Adrian explained that if the regent failed to meet all the requirements within the required period, the South Sumatera Ombudsman's report would be forwarded to the Indonesian Ombudsman in Jakarta.

"If the regional leaders fail to meet the Ombudsman's recommendations, they will be given sanction of special counselling conducted by the ministerial offices and their functions and authorities will be given to deputy leaders or elected officials," he added. (trn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/07/23/regents-dismissal-of-striking-medical-workers-maladministration-ombudsman.html