Friday, October 26, 2018

Hold negligent bosses responsible too, unionist tells minister

GEORGE TOWN: A unionist today urged the government to look into holding employers responsible for workplace accidents which occur due to negligence, saying present laws allow them to escape prosecution.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

PRESS RELEASE by MTUC Penang Division on the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy

PRESS RELEASE by MTUC Penang Division on the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy

MTUC Penang Division is horrified with the statement of the Mayor of Penang, Yew Tung Seang, that the road project must go on regardless of anything!

Is the Honourable mayor taking the position that irregardless of the real possibilities of workers dying on the job work must go on? Having regards to the fact that hill slope soil mitigative measures are non existence at the said worksite, let alone in all other hill slope developments,  it is beyond comprehension that the mayor thinks otherwise. His position is like saying that where even fools dare not venture he would do so! So much so for the concept of accountability that the Pakatan Harapan administration has been shouting about!

The misplaced stand of the Penang mayor notwithstanding MTUC Penang Division reiterates its demand that all work in progress on all hill slope development in Penang be stopped with immediate effect.

On this issue we demand that the Department Of Occupational and Safety (DOSH) issues work-stop order on, not only the worksite in question, but all other hill site development projects in Penang.This can be done because the jurisdiction to do so is vested with DOSH under the relevant provision of the Occupational Health and Safety Act  and not the Penang state government or the "decorated" mayor!

It is MTUC Penang's view that if the DOSH fails to institue such stop work orders it better close shop so that tax payers money can be utilised for other cause.

MTUC Penang Division also calls upon the Minister Of Human Resources, whose jurisdiction the DOSH is parked, to direct that the full provisions of the law be enforced without political inclination because the real concerns are the lives of workers. Any default in the matter would only be a manifestation of the Minister's, and the DOSH's, lack of conviction in the administration of the law in the matter.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Monday, October 22, 2018

MTUC Penang Division, having taken notice of Penang Forum's

MTUC Penang Division, having taken notice of Penang Forum's
statement that it had warned the state government of the dangers of hill clearings in Bukit Kukus and other areas, is of the view that the state government, the contractors and all other related agencies ought to be held responsible for its total disregard to such advice from experts in that field.

It is also our view that if such warnings had been heeded, and remedial course of actions instituted including suspension of work in progress, the tragedy of the unjust loss of lives of workers could have been avoided.

MTUC Penang Division also finds it completely unforgiving that slope mitigating measures were almost not put in place by those involved in such hill side projects as reported. The question that than needs to be postulated is this - who are those responsible and whether proper cause of action ought to be brought against them? We believe the answer is obvious.

MTUC Penang Division also wishes to make reference to the Penang chief minister's statement that heavy rain could have been the underlying cause to the landslide at Bukit Kukus. Our response to him is this- you do not need to be a rocket scientist to apprehend the reality of landslides on hill sites what more when the slopes are, as reported, 60-90 degress, during the year end rainy season! If only the state government and the relevant authorities had taken proactive measures, knowing that the rains would have an impact on the fragile hills of Penang, this tragedy could have been avoided. The Tanjong Bungah lanslide, that robbed the lives of 11 workers last year, ought to have been a lesson but the powers that be have, very regretably,  adopted a short term memory in the matter.

MTUC Penang Division is also dissappointed with the Penang Chief Minister's statement that hill slope work-in-progress would not be stopped. Given the fact that there has not been any soil erosion mitigating measures taken at any of the hill slope developments in the state as reported we are appalled at his stand on the matter. He, apparently, seems to be divorced from the possibilities of yet another unwarranted tragedy!

Given such circumstaces MTUC Penang Division calls upon the Department Of Occupational Health And Safety (DOSH) to institute action against those responsible for all or any breach of the law including the breach of the work-stop order so issued in regards to the work-site in question. DOSH should not, and cannot, compromise on the matter. We also implore upon DOSH to issue stop-work orders on all hill site developments in Penang until such time they comply with accepted soil erosion mitigating measures. We, further, call upon all other relevant authorities to commence their own investigations in the matter so as to ensure a holistic probe of this unwarranted tragedy.

We also wish to extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the famalies who have lost their loved ones.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)
Penang Division
Contact- 016 4184520

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bangladeshi, Indonesian found dead in Penang

MTUC Penang Division, at the on-set,  extends its heartfelt condolences to the famalies of today's landslide  at the construction site of the Paya Terubong by pass road project in Penang.

Given the fact that this comes close to another landslide diaster at Tanjung Bungah, where 11 workers became victims, MTUC Penang Division is of the view that  all construction works on hill sides and elevated slopes in the state be stopped immediately so as to ensure that such tragedies do not occur yet again.

MTUC Penang Division is given to understand that a stop-work order has been issued at the construction site concerned following an incident last Thursday. That being the case the question that we wish to pose is whether there was on-going work in breach of such stop-work orde? If the answer is in affirmative than it is our position that the full extend of the law be enforced onto those responsible. If the situation is otherwise our issue is why workers were housed on the slopes when they ought to have been provided safe and proper accomodation?

The latest tragedy clearly, in our opinion, shows the utter disregard for a safe worksite culture by employers who must be held accountable for the needless lost of lives of workers. We, therefore, demand that a commission of inquiry be formed to investigate the said tragedy.

Given this case MTUC Penang Division is of the considered view that the Penang state government ought to re-think its proposed Pan Island Link highway and transport projects. As we are given to understand a large portion of the said projects would entail massive work in the sensitive hill terrains including the Paya Terubong area. We confess we are no experts on such matters but we think the incidences of hill site landslides stand as indicators of the fragile challenges to the existing eco system of the island.

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Penang Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Moktar said the victims were believed to be inside the containers used to house them at the site when the landslide occurred.
Saadon said so far, rescuers have found the body of a 35-year-old Bangladeshi and a 19-year-old Indonesian, while a Myanmar national was found alive with a broken leg.
"All the victims were found under the containers. There are six containers at the site besides several wooden shacks," said Saadon.
He added that three others have been reported missing by friends and family members, and rescuers are searching for them.
They have been identified as Baktiar and Suberi from Indonesia while the other is a Myanmar national.
Saadon also said that the actual number of people missing is unconfirmed, with some saying up to seven, and this will only be known once the operation is completed.
An Indonesian construction worker, who only wished to be known as Endo, 36, said three of his family members from Sulawesi are missing.
More than 100 rescue personnel were dispatched to the scene after receiving a distress call at 1.54pm.

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.