Saturday, October 13, 2018

Court awards RM1.1 mil to 18 ex-workers of DRB-Hicom subsidiaries

 The Industrial Court has awarded about RM1.1 million in backdated wages and compensation in lieu of reinstatement to 18 ex-employees of two auto parts manufacturing companies although they were found guilty of misconduct.
Industrial Court chairman Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar found that the punishment of dismissal was too severe.
It was revealed that the managements of Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (M) Sdn Bhd and Isuzu Hicom (M) Sdn Bhd had discovered a video recording that was uploaded on YouTube and which they said had the potential to affect the reputation of the companies.
Both companies are subsidiaries of DRB-Hicom Group based in Pekan, Pahang.
The recording revealed that the 18 claimants had on May 3, 2013, attended a workers’ manifesto handing-over ceremony to a PAS candidate who was contesting the Peramu Jaya state seat within the Pekan parliamentary seat in the 2013 general election.
Some of the 17 claimants were wearing work uniforms with logos of their companies. The 18th worker was accused of leading the group in handing over the memorandum to the candidate.
The managements, which were unhappy with the workers’ explanations, then conducted a domestic inquiry before dismissing them on Aug 19, 2013.
They were charged with affecting the image of their companies and using outside influence to meet their industrial demand for higher wages and a better work environment.
Dusuki said the employers had proven their cases on the balance of probabilities but it did not warrant dismissal from employment.
“The court is entitled to substitute the punishment which it finds to be disproportionate to the misconduct,” he said in the 60-page award made available yesterday.
He said the court had also weighed the interests of the employees and employers before coming to a decision.
The court also noted that the workers had earlier attended an event organised by Rosmah Mansor, the wife of then prime minister and current Pekan MP Najib Razak, at their residence in Pekan.
Dusuki said dismissal was not appropriate after taking into account that most of the workers had served their employers for 20 years.
“Evidence also showed they had no past record of serious indiscipline with their employers,” he said, adding the misconduct was also not criminal in nature.
He said the workers had not criticised the then ruling federal government, Barisan Nasional or promoted Pakatan Rakyat in demanding their rights.
PAS was part of the loose PR opposition coalition in the 13th general election.
The workers will be receiving between RM24,000 and RM94,000 each in backdated wages and compensation in lieu of reinstatement.
Dusuki said sending them to work with their previous employers was not feasible in the interest of industrial harmony.
Lawyer R Chandra Segaran appeared for the workers while N Sivabalah and Raymond T C Low appeared for the companies.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

MALAYSIA:::50,000 Malaysians expected to be laid off this year

The job outlook for the country looks bleak, with over 50,000 Malaysians expected to lose their jobs this year.
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsudin Baradan said the main sector to be affected will be manufacturing.

MALAYSIA:::Long hours don’t mean better productivity, says MTUC

 The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has brushed off the notion that longer working hours equate to increase in productivity among workers in a company.
MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansor said working hours as stated in the Employment Act 1955 only refer to the hours that have been set for a company to generate productivity for a business.
“Section 60A of the Employment Act states that unless under certain exceptions, an employee shall not be required under his contract of service to work more than 48 hours a week.
“If in the case the company needs to alter working hours to maximize their company’s productivity, it needs to write-in to the labour department head of director requesting for the hours’ change, but not exceeding 48 hours,” he told Berita Daily.
However Halim said under the Act, a mutual agreement may be set between the employee and the company to exceed eight hours working in a day but must not to exceed nine hours in any day and 48 hours in a week.
“A company can make their own productivity plans but must be in the confinement of the Employment Act and not solely on cutting the company’s operational cost,” he said.
Recently Malay daily Berita Harian reported founder and chief operating officer of Arba Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd Ammar Rosliza as saying that he valued the work stress issue and only allowed his startup company of 28 employees to work for six hours per day.
This is not to overstress his workers and to enable them to get by the rush hour traffic and spend more time with their family, he was reported as saying.
Measure to help workers
Halim also said measures continuing to protect employees must always be taken seriously by the government.
“Such as the implementation of the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) that can help especially retrenched workers, to get them back on their feet,” he said.
EIS is a financial scheme aimed at helping employees who have lost their job, and it is managed by Social Security Organisation (Socso). This scheme is meant to enable retrenched workers to gain monetary funds that would help them get back on their feet for up to six months.
The EIS will function similarly to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), where the contribution will go into a pooled fund and then the fund will be invested.
Under the EIS, employers and employees will contribute 0.2 percent each of an employee’s salary, which will go towards an accumulated fund, where retrenched workers could claim financial assistance from.
The scheme will start collecting from January 2018 onwards, involving 430,000 employers and 6.6 million employees
Extend EIS to foreign workers too
Meanwhile, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) urged the government to extend the EIS to foreign workers as they have the rights of an employee too much like the local workers.
Speaking to Berita Daily, PSM secretary-general A Sivarajan said EIS can help foreign workers to at least survive if their company goes bust, or if they have been retrenched before their contract agreement ends.
“Most of them have contracts up to two years but what happens when they get laid off before their contract ends?
“Though EIS scheme covers Malaysian employees, PSM also requests that the policy would be extended to the migrant workers too,” he said.
“If in any case that a company goes bust or winds up before the contracted term ends, rights of these migrant workers can be protected. And they would receive the balance of their total contractual wages,” he said.
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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

MALAYSIA:::2018 another tough year for job seekers

JOB seekers can expect another challenging year in 2018, an employers group predicted, as there will be few new openings and even some retrenchments despite better economic growth prospects.
The bleak outlook is partly driven by increasing operating costs due to the new Employment Insurance System (EIS) scheme and the new foreign worker levy policy, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said.
About 50,000 workers are expected to be retrenched this year, MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said.
He said university and college graduates entering the job market this year should consider the following advice:
* Be prepared to wait longer to land a job. Even medical graduates have had to wait nine months for a housemanship post.  
* Be adaptable and take what you can get, even if the job is not in your field of study.
* Be open to jobs for which you are overqualified, for instance, taking a diploma-level position even though you have a degree.  
Employers will experience higher operating costs due to the EIS which will require them to contribute 0.2% of each worker’s base salary towards the fund for payment of between three and six months’ pay for the worker in the event of retrenchment.
Also, the onus of paying the foreign worker levy is now on the employer instead of the employee.
This could mean better job opportunities for Malaysians with SPM-level qualification, Shamsuddin said.
The levy, which rate varies from sector to sector, could make it more attractive for employers to hire locals.
But whether locals would want the jobs is the question, said Shamsuddin, give that what will be available are mostly be low-skill positions in the services and manufacturing sectors.
Some 100,000 jobs could open up as the first batch of employees retiring at 60 are expected to leave the workforce in June.
However, with increasing operational costs, companies may opt not to replace the retirees they lose, Shamsuddin cautioned. Signs are that they may choose to try to increase productivity instead.  
“It’s going to be a more challenging job market next year as employers try to survive with the increasing cost of doing business,” Shamsuddin told The Malaysian Insight.   
“The number and type of entry-level positions are going to be the same for 2018 as they were for 2017 and 2016.”
Jobs lost
MEF has 22 member associations, which are inclusive of employers in the mining, hotels and banking sectors. Together, these sectors employ more than a third of the 6.4 million workers in the country’s formal private sector.
The past three years have been hard for employers and job seekers. 
Shamsuddin had previously reported that in 2015, about 44,000 workers lost their jobs.
In 2016, about 40,000 workers were retrenched between January and September.
 About 30,700 retrenchments were recorded as of September last year, said Shamsuddin.
 
Prime Minister Najib Razak expects the economy this year to grow by 5% to 5.5%  on the back of increased exports and higher domestic demand.
This projection follows higher than anticipated growth of 5.2% to 5.7% in 2017, and up from 4.2% in 2016.   
The Najib administration has also boasted that the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has created 2.2 million jobs between 2011 and 2015.
The lost jobs are not just due to the weak global economy, which forced companies to scale down due to weak consumer demand.    
Higher growth has not translated into more jobs for locals, said MEF’s Shamsuddin, as a tilt towards more automation and digitisation means that companies will rely on fewer workers.
In the banking sector, Shamsuddin said the greater focus on mobile and online banking meant that more and more operations are in the purview of artificial intelligence.
As a result, banks collectively shed 18,000 positions in 2015, he said.
“This is happening in the insurance industry as well. They are saying that there are (digital) robots that can each do the work of 10 employees. So it reduces the jobs that are available.”
Federal lawmaker Ong Kian Ming pointed out that while 2.2 million new jobs were created between 2011 and 2015, the number of high skill jobs for university graduates had dropped.
Between 2006 and 2010, 587,000 high-skill jobs were created, said Ong who is Serdang MP. But from 2011 to 2015, that number fell to 501,000.  
Shamsuddin said the government’s push for companies to embrace digitisation, robotics and automation under Industry 4.0 will also result in fewer jobs.
“For every five jobs lost that are typically filled by men in Industry 4.0, only three new job will be created.
 “For every four jobs lost that are typically filled by women, only two new jobs will be created. That is the trend.”  – January 1, 2018.
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