DRB Hicom, hormatilah hak rakyat untuk mengambil bahagian dalam proses demokrasi

Hentikan tindakan disiplin terhadap pekerja kerana melaksanakan hak politik mereka, kata Charles Hector, Mohd Roszeli Majid dan Pranom Somwong.

Is BN for the workers?
Is BN for the workers?

(English version below)

Kami, 45 pertubuhan masyarakat sivil (CSOs), kesatuan sekerja dan kumpulan yang dinyatakan dibawah ini terharu dengan tindakan dua syarikat kumpulan DRB Hicom di Pekan, khususnya Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd dan Isuzu Hicom Malaysia Sdn Bhd kerana mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap 18 pekerja kerana melaksanakan hak mereka (di luar waktu kerja), sebagai rakyat mengambil bahagian dalam proses demokratik.

Berasaskan keputusan Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), yang turut disokong National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW), pekerja diminta mengambil tindakan untuk mendapatkan komitmen isu hak pekerja daripada calon dan parti politik bertanding dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke 13 (PRU13) di seluruh Malaysia, termasuk di Pekan, di mana tarikh mengundi adalah pada 5 Mei 2013. Ramai pekerja cuba dan/atau telah jumpa calon pilihanraya untuk mendapatkan komitmen mereka.

Justeru, pada 3 Mei 2013, sekumpulan 18 pekerja telah menyerahkan memorandum MTUC kepada seorang daripada calon bertanding di kawasan parlimen Pekan, yang juga merupakan kawasan parlimen di mana Perdana Menteri Malaysia sedang bertanding.

Berasaskan tindakan ini, tindakan disiplin telah dimulakan oleh dua syarikat kumpulan DRB Hicom di Pekan terhadap 18 pekerja ini.

Pertama, Hicom HICOM Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, yang memasang automobile jenama Suzuki, Mercedes-Benz dan Volkswagen, telah mengeluarkan surat tunjuk sebab pada 22 Mei 2013 kepada 16 pekerja, dan dengan cepat mengadakan ‘Domestic Inquiry’ yang bermula pada 11 Jun 2013. Pada masa ini Domestic Inquiry masih belum tamat dan tidak ada apa-apa keputusan lagi.

Kedua, Isuzu Hicom Malaysia Sdn Bhd yang memasang automobile jenama Isuzu, juga mengeluarkan surat tunjuk sebab kepada dua pekerja. Mereka juga sedang menunggu keputusan Domestic Inquiry.

Harus diambil kira bahawa pekerja TIDAK dibenarkan di wakili peguam atau wakil daripada Kesatuan Sekerja Nasional mereka, iaitu NUTEAIW, hanya dibenarkan diwakili oleh wakil jawatankuasa work site dari kilang berkenaan.

Kami berpendirian bahawa tindakan kedua-dua syarikat DRB Hicom tersebut bukan sahaja pencabulan serius hak pekerja. Ia juga pencabulan hak rakyat mengambil bahagian dalam proses demokratik di Malaysia, khususnya semasa pilihanraya umum. Majikan seharusnya tidak ada hak untuk memutuskan secara khusus atau secara tidak khusus pilihan, kegiatan dan/atau tindakan politik pekerja mereka, tambahan bila ini dilakukan di luar masa kerja. Pekerja, selaku rakyat Malaysia, harus mempunyai kebebasan untuk menyertai parti politik dan mengambil bahagian dalam mana-mana parti politik pilihan mereka, menawarkan diri mereka sebagai calun pilihanraya jika mereka memilih berbuat demikian, dan melibatkan diri dalam aktiviti kempen semasa pilihanraya.

Maka, tindakan DRB Hicom mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap 18 pekerja kerana melakukan apa yang merupakan hak mereka semasa PRU13, adalah sama sekali tidak wajar atau patut. Ia merupakan pencaulan besar hak 18 pekerja ini. Di dalam situasi ini, kami menuntut agar DRB Hicom segera memberhentikan tindakan disiplin terhadap 18 pekerja ini. Jika mana-mana daripada 18 pekerja ini telah diberhentikan kerja, mereka harus segera diambil balik sebagai pekerja (reinstated).

Kami difahami bahawa tuduhan terhadap pekerja ini adalah

  1. menjatuhkan imej atau nama baik syarikat melalui apa-apa cara sama ada secara lisan, tulisan atau perbuatan, dan
  2. membawa atau cuba membawa apa-apa bentuk pengaruh atau tekanan luar untuk mengemukakan dan menyokong sesuatu tuntutan berhubung dengan perkhidmatan sama ada tuntutan itu adalah tuntutan secara individu atau tuntutan lain-lain kakitangan.

Kami juga difahami bahawa majikan DRB Hicom cuba menjustifikasi tindakan terhadap 18 pekerja – yang cuba mendapatkan komitmen berkenaan hak pekerja dari calun kawasan Pekan – dengan mendakwa bahawa pekerja telah mungkin memberikan gambaran palsu bahawa syarikat terlibat dalam politik bercanggah dengan pendirian syarikat.

Kami mendapati penjelasan ini mengelikan! Ianya adalah hipokritikal berasaskan fakta bahawa semasa tempoh kempen pilihanraya, iaitu pada 25 April 2013, syarikat telah mengalakkan pekerja pergi dan menemui calon pilihanraya Barisan Nasional kawasan Pekan, Najib Razak, yang merupakan juga mantan Perdana Menteri. Pekerja dibenarkan pergi untuk pertemuan ini semasa waktu kerja. Kegiatan ini juga telah dipaparkan dalam laman web calon pilihanraya Najib (‘ Najib’s 13th general election Pekan constituency candidate website) , di mana posting ini diberi tajuk ‘Dato’ Sri Najib beramah mesra dengan warga DRB-Hicom Pekan’. Kemudian pada tarikh yang sama pekerja perempuan juga dibenarkan pergi berjumpa dengan isteri Najib.

Syarikat dan perniagaan seharusnya tidak memberhentikan pekerja untuk alasan selain daripada mengenai halperkara yang berkait dengan perlakuan kerja dan/atau kelakuan semasa kerja kecuali dalam situasi luarbiasa, sebagai contoh bila pekerja disabitkan melakukan jenayah.

18 pekerja ini ada keluarga dan kanak-kanak, dan pemberhentian kerja akan mengakibatkan kesusahan besar menjejaskan kesenangan dan kehidupan mereka. Di anatara 18 pekerja terbabit terdapat pemimpin kesatuan sekerja, termasuk pengerusi MTUC Divisyen Pahang. Kami berharap pemberhentian pemimpin pekerja tidak berlaku dan kedua-dua syarikat DRB Hicom tidak melakukan ‘union busting’ (usaha memecahkan kesatuan sekerja).

Kami memanggil DRB Hicom, Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd dan Isuzu Hicom Malaysia Sdn Bhd untuk segera memberhentikan tindakan disiplin terhadap 18 pekerja ini, dan jika ada mana-mana pekerja terbabit sudah diberhentikan kerja untuk segera mengembalikan kerja (reinstate) mereka tanpa kehilangan faedah.

Kami juga menyeru kepada Perdana Menteri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, yang juga ahli Parlimen kawan Pekan, untuk mencelah dan memastikan bahawa hak mereka di kawasan pilihanrayanya, sebagai pekerja dan rakyat, tidak dicabul oleh majikan.

Charles Hector
Mohd Roszeli bin Majid
Pranom Somwong

Untuk dan bagi pihak 41 organisasi yang dinyatakan di bawah:

Aliran
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development ( APWLD)
Asian Migrant Centre (AMC)
Association of Maybank Executives
Building and Wood Workers International Asia Pacific
Burma Campaign Malaysia
Clean Clothes Campaign
Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia
Dignity International
Group of Concerned Citizens
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem News , UK
Jawatankuasa Sahabat Rakyat (人民之友)
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan Semenanjung Malaysia
Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Kelab Semenanjung Malaysia
Legal Aid Commission, Sri Lanka
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malaysians for Beng Hock
Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
Migrante International
Migrants Rights Council,India
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Melaka
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Pahang
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Penang Division
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia(NAMM)
NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees), Malaysia
NUHBRW (National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers), Malaysia
Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti, Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Pusat KOMAS (KOMAS)
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association
SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia)
Tenaganita, Malaysia
Think Centre, Singapore
Tenaga Nasional Berhad Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU), Malaysia
WARBE Development Foundation-Bangladesh
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Malaysia
Workers Assistance Center, Inc, Philippines
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)

Tambahan:
NLD LA Malaysia
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA – Batam Indonesia
IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
WARBE Development Foundation-Bangladesh

 

DRB Hicom must respect citizens’ right to participate in democratic process

We, the undersigned 45 civil society organisations, trade unions and concerned groups, are appalled by the actions of two DRB Hicom companies based in Pekan, namely Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Isuzu Hicom Malaysia Sdn Bhd for taking disciplinary action against 18 workers who merely exercised their rights (outside working hours), as citizens, to participate in the democratic process.

Pursuant to a decision by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), which was also supported by the National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW), to extract commitments on workers’ rights from contesting candidates and political parties involved in GE13, workers throughout Malaysia, including in Pekan, met or attempted to meet contesting candidates from all parties before election day (5 May 2013).

Accordingly, on 3 May, a group of 18 workers submitted the MTUC memorandum to one of the contesting candidates in the Pekan parliamentary constituency, which also happens to be the constituency that the Prime Minister was contesting.

On account of this act, disciplinary action has been initiated by two DRB Hicom companies based in Pekan against these 18 workers.

First, Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, which assembles automobiles for Suzuki, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, has issued show-cause letters on 22 May 2013 to 16 workers, and speedily proceeded with the ‘Domestic Inquiry’ which began on 11 June 2013. At present the Domestic Inquiry is yet to end and there is no decision.

Second, Isuzu Hicom Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which assembles automobiles for Isuzu, also issued show-cause letters to two workers. They, too, are awaiting the decision of the Domestic Inquiry. Significantly, the workers were NOT allowed the right to be represented by lawyers or representatives of the National Union, only by representatives from the work site committee.

We consider the action taken by the two DRB Hicom companies not only a gross violation of worker rights. It is also a violation of the right of citizens to participate in the democratic process of Malaysia, especially during elections. No employer should have the right to dictate directly or indirectly the political choices, activities and/or actions of their workers, more so outside employment hours. Workers, as citizens of Malaysia, must have the freedom to join and participate in any political party of their choice, offer themselves as candidates if they so wish, and involve themselves in campaigning in general elections.

Hence DRB Hicom’s disciplinary action against these 18 workers for exercising their rights as citizens in the run-up to GE13 is completely uncalled for. It is a gross violation of the rights of these 18 workers.

Under the circumstances, we demand that DRB Hicom stop all disciplinary actions being taken against these 18 workers immediately. If any of these 18 workers have already been terminated, they should be reinstated immediately.

We understand that the charges levelled against the workers are:

  1. undermining the image or good name of the company orally, in writing or by action, and
  2. bringing about or trying to bring about any form of influence or outside pressure to submit or support any external claim that is related to service be it an individual claim or claims of other employees.

We further understand that the employer DRB Hicom is trying to rationalise its action against the 18 workers – who were seeking a commitment on workers’ rights from the Pekan parliamentary candidate – by claiming that the workers might have given the ‘false impression’ that ‘the company was involved in politics’ which is contrary to the company’s stance.

We find such an explanation laughable! Indeed, it is hypocritical given the fact that during the electoral campaign period, on 25 April 2013, the company had encouraged workers to go and meet the Barisan Nasional parliamentary candidate for Pekan, Najib Razak, also the incumbent Prime Minister. Indeed, workers were allowed to go for the meeting during working hours!

This event was also highlighted in Najib’s 13th general election Pekan constituency candidate website, and the posting was entitled ‘Dato’ Sri Najib beramah mesra dengan warga DRB-Hicom Pekan’ (Dato’ Sri Najib socialises with DRB-Hicom citizenry). Later that very day, women workers were also allowed by the company to meet up with Najib’s wife.

Companies and businesses should never terminate a worker for reasons other than matters that relate to work performance and/or their conduct as a worker save in very exceptional cases, for example, when a worker is convicted of a criminal offence.

These 18 workers have families and children, and a termination would cause great hardship to their well-being and livelihood. Amongst the 18 are also trade union leaders, including also the current chairperson of the Pahang Division of the MTUC. We hope that the termination of workers’ leaders does not occur and that the two DRB Hicom companies are not resorting to ‘union busting’.

We call on DRB Hicom, Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Isuzu Hicom Malaysia Sdn Bhd to immediately discontinue disciplinary action against the 18 workers and, if any were already terminated, to immediately reinstate them without loss of benefits.

We call on Prime Minister Najib Razak, being also the Member of Parliament for Pekan, to intervene and ensure that the rights of his constituents, as workers and as citizens, are not violated by employers.

Charles Hector
Mohd Roszeli bin Majid
Pranom Somwong

For and on behalf the 41 organisations listed below:

Aliran
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development ( APWLD)
Asian Migrant Centre (AMC)
Association of Maybank Executives
Building and Wood Workers International Asia Pacific
Burma Campaign Malaysia
Clean Clothes Campaign
Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia
Dignity International
Group of Concerned Citizens
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem News , UK
Jawatankuasa Sahabat Rakyat (人民之友)
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan Semenanjung Malaysia
Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Kelab Semenanjung Malaysia
Legal Aid Commission, Sri Lanka
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malaysians for Beng Hock
Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
Migrante International
Migrants Rights Council,India
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Melaka
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Pahang
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Penang Division
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia(NAMM)
NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees), Malaysia
NUHBRW (National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers), Malaysia
Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti, Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Pusat KOMAS (KOMAS)
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association
SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia)
Tenaganita, Malaysia
Think Centre, Singapore
Tenaga Nasional Berhad Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU), Malaysia
WARBE Development Foundation-Bangladesh
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Malaysia
Workers Assistance Center, Inc, Philippines
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)

Additional endorsements:
NLD LA Malaysia
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA – Batam Indonesia
IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
WARBE Development Foundation-Bangladesh

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