Bank union in uproar over dismissal
Malaysia – About 200 members from the National Union of Banking Employees (NUBE) took to the streets in protest last week over the dismissal of two Maybank employees.
The union members staged a picket at Dataran Maybank after the bank fired two employees, Abdul Jamil Jalaludeen and Chen Ka Fatt, NUBE’s vice-president and general treasurer respectively, for carrying a banner with the message “Maybank robs poor Malaysian workers” at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference in Geneva last year.
Both Abdul Jamil and Chen were sacked in January.
Upset by the decision, the union lodged a police report against Maybank’s CEO, head of human resources division and its head of industrial relations last week.
“The reason is because we found out that all members of the Malaysian Commercial Bank Association (MCBA) had supported Maybank’s action,” J Solomon, NUBE’s secretary-general, said.
The report accused Maybank for sponsoring an in-house union, Mayneu, which it claimed was unlawful under the Industrial Relations Act 1967. Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam, the Human Resources Department, Industrial Relations Department of Trade Union Affairs and Suhakam, were also named in the report.
The picket began in the afternoon on 15 February, and those present included Abdul Razak Md Hassan, Railway Union of Malaysia (RUM) president, CH Venkatachalam, the Asian Regional Organisation of Banking, Insurance and Financial Unions president, and S Arutchelvan, secretary-general of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia.
Solomon said NUBE has been concerned over Maybank’s failure to provide better remuneration for its staff and has brought the matter up to Subramaniam since last year. However, Solomon claims the complaints have been ignored.
“In the meetings, all Subramaniam said is that he will think about it. In fact, my office-bearers were sacked by Maybank on Jan 31, just a day after we met him but he is still thinking about it,” Solomon.
Maybank alleges the dismissals had nothing to do with the employees’ involvement with the union. “The two were dismissed for actions which had brought disrepute to the image and reputation of the bank,” Nora Abdul Manaf, Maybank’s head of group human capital, said in a statement last week.
Nora added both Abdul Jamil and Chen were granted paid trade union leave to attend the conference in Geneva. She added both employees were issued show-cause letters and were given the opportunity to explain their actions during a domestic disciplinary inquiry.
The investigation took more than four months, after which both employees were found guilty of bringing disrepute to the bank.
Nora also challenged the accusation that the bank did not grant leave to 17 NUBE members, and said more than 1,500 days of trade union leave had been granted to 69 NUBE members to carry out their union activities last year.
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