Hong Leong Bank Bhd (HLB) did not consult the union when it offered its mutual separation scheme (MSS) to its permanent employees yesterday, the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) said.
NUBE general-secretary J. Solomon said in a statement today that while the MSS was issued on October 20, NUBE was only notified by fax on the evening of October 19 and via email on October 20.
He said the bank was legally required to consult the union and justify the need for the MSS, adding that by not doing so, the bank had breached the collective agreement and the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony.
HLB chief executive officer Tan Kong Khoon had said yesterday that Hong Leong Bank and Hong Leong Islamic had informed the authorities and unions about the MSS.
He also said the MSS, which was offered to permanent staff at all levels, functions and locations on a voluntary basis, would create an opportunity for both the bank and employees to gain mutual benefits.
But Solomon said today Tan had misled the press and the public with the statement.
He told The Malaysian Insider that this year alone, CIMB Bank, RHB Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank Muamalat had carried out either MSS or voluntary separation schemes (VSS) and all had consulted NUBE first.
“They came and discussed with us and we offered our views.
“But Hong Leong did not consult us.”
It was reported that several banks have announced job cuts this year, with Standard Chartered Bank cutting its Malaysian workforce by 11%, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd (3,599 employees or 11%) and RHB Capital Bhd (2,700 employees or 15%).
Solomon said while there were no official figures from the banks or government on the number of employees affected by the retrenchment exercises, he believes the number for this year to be in the region of 8,000.
He said Article 6 of the collective agreement imposed a legal duty on the bank to recognise NUBE as the sole negotiator for the worker within its scope while the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony laid down clear guidelines for employers during an economic slowdown.
Solomon said HLB introduced similar forms of retrenchment in the last quarter of 2013 and this was reported to Bank Negara, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Human Resources, adding that there has been no response from any of these bodies.
news source & image credits: themalaysianinsider.com