Moral Dilemma of Striking: A Medical Worker’s Response to Job Duty, Public Health Protection and the Politicization of Strikes

Yao-Tai LI*, Jenna Ng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The emergence of COVID-19 has led many countries to take strong border control measures. In Hong Kong, in reaction to government reluctance to close the border, more than 9000 medical workers went on strike. The strike lasted for five days only, yet it provoked a moral dilemma for healthcare occupations – when workers strike, citizens’ medical needs may be sacrificed. This article presents Jenna, a medical worker who went on strike, and her evaluation of the moral dilemma. Her account shows the ways in which different narratives shape power and politics and lend legitimacy to striking. Her example reveals the contested framing of professionalism – the struggle between job duties, workplace safety and a commitment to the public interest (public health). This contribution highlights how the moral dilemma of medical strikes can be resolved, and how the politicization of strikes can be legitimized by medical workers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWork, Employment and Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • framing
  • Hong Kong
  • medical worker
  • mobilization
  • professionalism
  • public health
  • public interest
  • strike

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