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A worker's Response to MCID’s Accusation

I was refused the right to attend a meeting today between ten unlawfully dismissed workers of MCID and Mr. Hultengren, the managing director of MCID. Mr. Hultengren accused me of making death threats against him and his managers. This is a false accusation.

I was employed by MCID in August 2006. I was never told by the company that there are potential occupational hazards.

In March 2008 I began to have hearing problems, and was admitted to hospital for two weeks to have medical checks and treatment. MCID is required to provide the hospital with the Environmental Assessment Report for further diagnosis.

On May 14 2008, the Guangdong Provincial Hospital for the Prevention and Treatment of Occupational Diseases (Provincial Hospital for short) sent a notice to MCID to remind the latter to send them the required report by speed post. MCID failed to do so.

From May to September, I approached Manager Ding and Cai several times to ask them to send the report to the hospital but they refused. They also said that “the boss” – which for MCID employees generally means Mr. Hultengren – would not allow the report be sent to hospital.

According to the Certificate of Diagnosis issued to me later, as early as July 8 the Centre for Control of Diseases in Dongguan had already conducted an assessment of MCID’s working environment, which found that noise reached 92.2dB) – 103.2 dbA, which is well above the permitted level of 85.

During this period I often called the hospital to ask when I could get the official diagnosis, and time and time again I was told that it was not ready because the company had not given them the Environmental Assessment Report.

On September 25 and 26, three of us who shared the same grievances complained to the Centre for Control of Diseases in Dongguan and the Office for the Monitoring of Hygiene in Guangdong Province but this had no result.

On Oct 6 I called the hospital again to ask about the diagnosis but the reply was the same.

At 8am, October 7, another worker and I approached Manager Ding again to ask them to send the report to the hospital. Manager Ding responded, again, that it was the Danish senior management who did not want the report to be sent to the hospital, and told us we could approach Mr. Irving Hultengren if we liked. We then went to Mr. Hultengren s office, and through his secretary told him that we needed to talk to him. He told us, through interpretation, to wait in another room because he was busy. The whole process lasted only a few minutes and we never made any threat to him. Then we were made to sit in another room and eventually it was Manager Wang who talked to us but this had no result.

An hour later I got a phone call from the Hospital informing me that the diagnosis was ready to pick up. I went. I was officially diagnosed as placed under medical observation for my hearing. Wang and I were the first two workers among the MCID workforce who were officially placed under medical observation.

On Oct 9 I was fired for allegedly having “threatened and insulted colleagues”.

Since then I have received neither medical treatment nor further medical investigation.

Later when I tried to sort things out I become more and more suspicious. Before I went to Mr. Hultegren I was repeatedly told that it was he who did not allow the Environmental Assessment Report to be delivered to the hospital. Then suddenly, one hour after I went to him, the hospital called me to tell me the diagnosis was ready. If the words of Manager Ding was true (that it was Mr. Hultegren or the Danish managers who blocked the delivery of the Environmental Assessment Report to the hospital), then it meant that within one hour so many things happened: Mr. Hultengren suddenly changed his mind and ordered the delivery of the Environmental Assessment Report to the hospital and then the doctors there hastily made a medical judgment on the correlation between the Environmental Assessment Report and my symptoms, and then issued the diagnosis, which has more than 1000 Chinese characters.

What was more suspicious was that when I looked at the certificate of my diagnosis issued by the hospital, I found out that back on September 26 the doctor had already made the diagnosis (I must be placed under medical observation), and this fact contradicts what the company management has been saying and the hospital reply to me on October 6 (that the diagnosis had not been ready because the factory had not sent them the Environmental Assessment Report). Put it simply, the stories given by the company management and the hospital did not add up at all.

There are still things which I cannot figure out why and how, and I do not know whether this or that particular statement by the Chinese managers was true or false. It is obvious, though, that the company intentionally made things difficult for me in my attempt to get a proper medical diagnosis and treatment. To achieve this it had to do much maneuvering, in the course of which it only aroused more suspicions.

Why did they want to stop me and another worker from getting a proper medical diagnosis and treatment? I suspect that it was because we were the first batch of workers to be diagnosed and placed under medical observation and there were a few hundred workers who also had hearing problems and might sooner or later be hospitalized. It would then be made public that the company’s working environment was absolutely sub-standard and poor, and so eventually it might be ordered to make a clean up which would interrupt production and cost a lot of money, something which Mr. Hultengren did not want. Mr. Hultengren has always been very keen in pushing up productivity. Since Mr. Hultengren joined MCID, the management had increased the production target from 150 containers to 180 per day.

All I want is proper medical treatment for my occupational disease, it is as simple as that. It is unlawful for MCID to dismiss workers who are placed under medical observation; therefore I also demand for reinstatement.

I have been working to make my grievances heard. In the afternoon of March 5, 2009, shortly before Impactt made auditing for MCID, a policeman from the Machong Township called me and warned me “the head office of Maersk has sent someone to investigate MCID, you must not mess around (ni buyao luanlai).”

The management, in order to evade its responsibility as an employer, now tries to slander me by accusing me of making a death threat. We will not allow them to add salt to our wounds again.

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