Monday, November 18, 2013


With a bed-ridden mother and two disabled siblings, a bank employee joins a picket against her employer's decision to transfer her and her colleagues to different states
KUALA LUMPUR: A sole breadwinner attached with Hong Leong Bank Penang is hoping that she can avoid a transfer to Selangor because of an ailing mother and two disabled siblings.
Ong, in her 20s, was among 300 people who picketed in front of Wisma Hong Leong to protest against the bank’s decision to transfer 50 non-executives from all over country to three centralised locations.
A documentation department staff, Ong is the sole breadwinner in her family. With a bed-ridden mother and two handicapped siblings at home, she can hardly imagine her life away from Penang.

“I have applied to be transferred to other branches in Penang but was refused. I really hope I can stay in Penang. Without me, I don’t know what is going to happen to my family members,” said Ong.
Ahmad Syahriza, 35, and Nasrina Zolkifli, 28, were also unhappy with their transfers, saying they had settled down with their families in Sungai Petani and Alor Star respectively and wished to remain there.
Hong Leong Bank embarked on a nationwide downsizing exercise termed “hubbing and centralisation” to centralise all of its collection operations to Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.
It claimed that it was to enhance cost-efficiency, but National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) said such exercise has no justification and inflicts emotional pains on the workers.

Dialogue with ministry on Tuesday
The affected workers are required to report for duty on Monday (Nov 18).
“By right they should be moving technology to the people, not the other way round. You can easily move the jobs to people in their original locations using scans, fax or other technology
“Why do you have to transfer them? How do you justify it is cost-effective? We posed this question to them but they can’t answer,” said NUBE assistant general secretary A Karuna.
Karuna also said Ong’s family would face severe hardship should her transfer materialise.
Dressed in black, the picketers held aloft banners, some which read, ‘HLB- breaking up families, destroying livelihood’, ‘Family institution tortured’ and ‘HLB practices false promotion’.
They also placed a casket in front of Wisma Hong Leong’s entrance to express their dissatisfaction.
NUBE general secretary J Solomon said the human resource ministry would hold a dialogue between the union and the bank on Tuesday, thus the workers would not report for duty pending to the outcome.
He said it is uncommon in the industry that a bank has pushed forward the transfer of non-executives without consulting the union and the persons affected.

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