Wednesday, January 16, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT - WATER RATE INCREASE IN PENANG

In the space of the last few days statements have been attributed to the Penang chief minister, and the CEO of PBA Jaseni Maidinsa, on the possibilty of water charge rate increase and a statistical analysis of the water consumption trends in Penang, respectively.

 The Penang Chief Minister's statement was  that the Penang state government is seeking the federal goverment's "blessing" in increasing the water comsumption rates by between 10 to 20% in the state. He seems to justify such an increase on the basis that Penang's water comsumption levy is the lowest in the country.

On the other hand PBA's CEO states that the people of Penang have lowered their water consumption from 291 liters per capita per day  in 2010 to 276 liter in 2017. And he states it was because of the imposition of a water conservation surcharge (WCS) imposed on consumers. On this issue it needs to be asked whether it was the WCS that brought down consumption or whether it was as a result of the consumers awareness in reducing water consumption or a combination of the factors in the matter. On both counts it cannot be denied that water consumption, in the state, is on the down ward trend. Given that fact we find it hard to comprehend the state government's proposal to burden Penang water consumers with a 10 to 20% increase in water tariff.

As it is the working population are confronted with ever escalating cost of living and to, further, burden them with an increase in water consumption rates would not only be unjustified but immoral given the Pakatan Harapan's pledge to lighten the economic burden of the people.

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, calls upon the Penang state government to embark on creating greater awareness on conservation of water consumption as opposed to burdening the people of Penang with a 10 to 20% increase in water tariff.

K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
16.1.2019
016 4184520

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hyundai's Chennai plant workers protest over alleged delay in wage pay

Hyundais-Chennai-plant-workers-protest-over-alleged-delay-in-wage-pay

A section of workers in Motor’s Chennai plant held a one-day token hunger strike on Wednesday, as the wage settlement talks with the management were inconclusive. 

The permanent workers, under the recognised union, had earlier decided to stay away from over time operations, and alleged the company was using the to substitute 

The United of Employees (UUHE), the which had entered into a wage settlement last time, has been in talks with the management for the settlement for the period 2018-2021. 

However, the talks remain inconclusive, with the negotiation on the percentage of salary hike yet to see success, said sources from the company on condition of anonymity.


spokesperson refuted the allegation, saying, “At the moment we are engaged in wage negotiations with the recognised  The talks are at an advanced stage, and are progressing smoothly. The employees, and have supported the meeting of production targets.”

“At Motor India,  our production lines are manned by our employees, but we also engage  These are on boarded after they have undergone an intensive one-year training at our plant, under senior supervisors. We do not employ unskilled workers on  the production lines,” said the company spokesperson.

Motor has over 2,200 permanent workers, around 3,500 and another 5,000 contract workers in the Sriperumbudur facility, they say.




Bukit Kukus - Worksite safety flaws

PRESS RELEASE - MTUC PENANG DIVISION

MTUC Penang Division, in reference to the Penang Chief Minister's statement  that the Bukit Kukus landslide was due to "worksite safety flaws" (FMT today) is of the view that it is nothing short of an admission that those hired to undertake the job had disregarded their duty of care in confirming with the threshold safety standards that they were beholden to observe.

The Chief Minister's views, on the issue, seems to be based on the findings of the probe conducted by the Penang Island City Council and that conducted by the Penang Deputy Chief 1. Inspite of such conclusion the Chief Minister says he will wait for the findings of the department of occupational safety and health (DOSH) before making a decision as to whether to retain the existing contractors or not. His position is like saying that I have my doubts with the findings of those I entrusted to investigate the matter!

MTUC Penang Division's stand is simply this- if the Penang Island City Council and the Deputy Chief Minister's finding on the issue at hand is that the contractors had compromised on the worksite safety standards there is no reason for the state to delay appropriate course of action against the current contractors who, obviously, have failed in their responsibilities. With or without a report from DOSH  the state must have the courage, and the conviction, to terminate the irresponsible contractors involved.

The Chief Minster has also expressed his hope that the project can continue. Our response to that is this - can the Chief Minister or the state government give an undertaking that there will be no more  "worksite safety flaws" if the work is allowed to continue?

On all account it is our view that it would be proper for the state government to act with utmost caution in the matter. Between development and loss of lives please choose the lesser evil.

K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
9.1.2019

Monday, December 31, 2018

MTUC Penang Division is shocked with the PPBM vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman's stand that elections must be won by "hook or crook"! And, by extention, doing it by rewarding PPBM divisional chiefs with government hand-outs, is even more digusting! To imply that, as a component party of the Pakatan Harapan government, it would be justified to do do is devoid of sense!

The victory of 14th general elections was as a result of the collective desire of the people to oppose the culture of patronage, amongst other issues, that was embedded during the Barisan National regime. We, the citizens of the country, elected for change minus croynism. It was our hope that this country would embark on a fresh path of transparency and accountability. It was our aspiration that the country would be in the hands of those who subscribe to the ideals of democratic rules and practices. The misplaced affirmation of leaders like Abdul Rashid is but a dis-service to the hopes of the people of this country.

If elections are to be won by "hook or crook" is it suggested that it ought to be achieved by, say, rigging elections with dubious electoral rolls? Or worst still by buying votes through enriching divisional chiefs? Isn't such a proposition going against the very grain of concerns raised by the people and the collective leadership of the Pakatan Harapan government? On all account it would be a disaster if the Pakatan Harapan leadership does not rebutt the position taken by Abdul Rashid.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
30.12.2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018

DEDUCTION OF 20% WAGES OF MIGRANTVWORKERS

PRESS RELEASE BY MTUC PENANG DIVISION - DEDUCTION OF 20% WAGES OF MIGRANTVWORKERS

MTUC Penang Division is shocked at the Human Resources Minister's proposal to deduction/withhold 20% of migrant workers' wages. His justification that it will serve the objective of preventing migrant from fleeing from their employers is even more shocking!

The Minister, obviously, has taken a simplistic approach to the issue. What that really needs to be
asked is this:-

 Why are migrant workers absconding form their employers?

 Is it beacasue of low wages or is it because of unjust working conditions?

Or are there other legitimate reasons?

What the Minister ought to do is to investigate the underlying causes for migrant workers leaving their employers.Taking an easy way out can never be the answer. It would, thus, be appropriate for the Minister to take a holistic approach to the issues confronting migrant workers. A piece meal approach would never serve the higher objective to understanding the issues confronting migrant workers.

These fundamental issues aside the Minister ought to have taken advice if the said 20% deduction is permissible in law. To the best of our knowledge Section 24 of the Employment Act 1955 does not permit such a deduction. His suggestion, to park such deductions with SOCSO, raises the question of whether there exist such provision under the Social Security Act to do so?

The Minister, citing South Korea and Japan as a point of reference leads to another question i.e. whether the Honourable Minister is prepared to adopt the labour standards, including wages, that such countries have put in place for not only their wokers but also migrants?

As we have suggested we implore upon the Honourable Minister to approach the issue with consideration to the whole spectrum of issues involving not only migrant workers but Malaysians as well.

K.VEERIAH
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
Email kveeriah@hotmail.com
15.12.2018


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Forced overtime work in the case of Top Glove

MTUC Penang Division, having taken notice of the Ministry of Human Resoucers finding that there were no cases of forced overtime work in the case of Top Glove, views with utmost concern the very statement of the Minister of Human Resources that such excessive long hours of work was as a result of the request of migrant workers themselves.

The said situation raises a fundamental issue i.e. can an employer irregardless of the limitation in law of a maximum of 104  hours of overtime be absolved of their legal, if not moral obligation, to allow such a breach of the relevant provisions of the law even if such a violation was at the request of the workers themselves?

We do not subscribe to the notion that any violation of the law can be condoned let alone be justified on any account.

We, therefore, urge the Human Resources Ministry to institute action against, not only Top Glove, but all such erring employers. Unless and until the Ministry does so such disregard, to the respect of the law,  will rear its ugly head without fear of a lack of enforcement.

It is our earnest prayer that the Ministry acts with conscience on the matter least the newly minted government is lablled a lackey of the employers class!


K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
12.12.2018

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

MIGRANT WORKERS HOURS OF Work // MRC MTUC PENANG DIV.

PRESS RELEASE BY MTUC PENANG DIVISION - MIGRANT WORKERS HOURS OF WORK

The instances where workers, including migrant workers, working long hours is a reality that has prevailed in our country. The case, of the migrant workers of Top Glove toilling prolonged hours of work as reported by FMT, is but one such case. It is our view that it is just the tip of the iceberg.

The fact that workers in Malaysia work overtime and on their rest-day and even public holidays is a sad reflection of the economic pressure that they face as a result of the ever escalating cost of living that prevails in the country. Cases of workers doing more than one job is a openly known fact.

In the equation of wages in our country the migrant workers are entrapped in bondage as a result of the unjust charges that are imposed on them by uncaring recuirting agents or agencies in their country of origin. We, thus, call upon company's hiring migrant workers to ensure that it is
 done on a government to government basis so as to dispense with such recuirtment agents or agencies.

Working long hours, and by extension enhancing production,  results in a deterioration of workers physical and mental health.

If a worker works a 48 hours week he would have worked a total of 192 hours in a month. If he works the maximum permissible overtime of 104 hours per month he would have 296 hours per month - working out to total of 37 mandays a month! ( 296 ÷ 8 hours per day = 37 mandays worked over 30 days in a month).

It is our position that such an unjust situation must be eradicated! And we are of the conviction that it can only be done if wages are structured to confirm with a living wage standard.

Our nation ought to move away from the module of a minimum wage to that of a living wage i.e. a wage that would enable workers to meet their basic economic needs.

It is, therefore, MTUC Penang Division's demand that the National Minimum Wages Council be re-branded to that of a National Living Wage Council with the absolute jurisdiction to decide on a nation wide living wage. The powers, to decide on such living wage, vested with government, must be abolished as it makes no sense for the council's very establishment or existence!

K.VEERIAH
SECRETARY
MTUC PENANG DIVISION
016 4184520
7.12.2018