Bank employees union fears for workers’ rights

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The National Union of Bank Employees (Nube) claims that the dismissal of two bank employees for their trade union activities amounts to union busting.

Nube picket - Photograph: Choo Choy May/Malaysian Insider

The unfair dismissal of two National Union of Bank Employees (Nube) officials by Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) last month could lead to the eventual removal of employee rights and affect the future of trade union movements in the country.

These union-busting tactics, among other breaches, are a violation of law and international treaties, and could lead to further dismissals of trade union leaders by Maybank or other institutions, which in turn will negatively impact the Malaysian workforce if such actions are left unchecked.

Although the matter has been referred to the relevant authorities, the indifference shown by the various Government bodies appears to condone Maybank’s actions. Concerned about the deteriorating situation and welfare of its union members, the Nube today lodged a report on 15 February 2012 with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office at Jalan Cochrane, urging it investigate these violations by Maybank as well as the lack of enforcement by the Ministry of Human Resource, the Industrial Relations Department (IRD), the Department of Trade Union Affairs (DTUA) and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

A delegation of members then made its way to the MACC office at noon to lodge the report, which highlights the actions of the various parties, and to urge the MACC to investigate the matter. The report aims at bringing the matter to the attention to the Prime Minister and the public that Maybank’s various violations include breaching the Federal Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 1998, the Industrial Relations Act 1967, and the Trades Union Act 1959.

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Earlier this morning, 500 Nibe members rallied at Nube House to show their support. They were briefed on workers and trade union rights in Malaysia, listened to message of support by various union heads from around the region, and were informed of the implications of the Free Trade Agreement.

The 500 members then made their way to Dataran Bangsar, where a four-hour picket was held to:

1. protest the dismissal of Nube vice-president Abdul Jamil Jalaludeen, and its treasurer-general, Chen Ka Fatt, as employees of Maybank on 31 January 2012 for participating in trade union activities, and to demand their reinstatement;

2. urge Maybank to stop its union-busting activities – which includes intimidating Nube officials with salary deductions and disciplinary action should they carry out their union duties – and to work with Nube to amicably resolve all outstanding issues as well as draw up an understanding to respect workers’ and trade union rights of Maybank employees;

3. urge the Ministry of Human Resources to cancel the registration of Maybank’s in-house union, formed and sponsored by Maybank, in contradiction with Article 6 of the binding Collective Agreement between Maybank and Nube.

“We are grateful to Nube members for their support and for joining us today (15 February) to fight for their rights and for change. Nube will not stand for our members being intimidated and harassed by the banking institutions they have loyally worked for and contributed to just because they were carrying out their duties,” said Nube president Michael Tan Eng Hong.

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“Nube has noted that 17 officials have been dismissed over the last eight years for participating in trade union activities – which does not honour laws and contracts. This is a slow but steady stripping away of employee rights not just in the banking sector but in other industries too,” he added. “It is the erosion of workers’ rights in Malaysia and if not addressed, will see corporate companies operating as they please at the expense of their workers.”

With over 600 registered members throughout the country, Nube is the sole representative union of all clerical and non-clerical employees of banking and financial institutions throughout Peninsular Malaysia.

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