State should do more to protect retrenched local workers, says See
Posted on July 5, 2013, Friday
KUCHING: Workers need a realistic state retrenchment fund to fall on, given the lopsided deal of pitiable retrenchment benefits multi national companies (MNCs) paid to those who end up unemployed in special development industries.
In light of the mediation-aided retrenchment exercise of Sanmina-SCI, state PKR vice-chief told a news conference here yesterday that the fund would serve as a safety net for local workers in view of the projected magnitude of foreign investments into the state.
“Equal emphasis must be placed on incentives to attract foreign investments as well as the welfare of our workers.
“Hence, there should be a state-funded unemployment benefit or assistance for retrenched workers to enable them to re-organise their dependents’ livelihood including education, housing and sustenance,” he said at PKR headquarters here.
See said although he was glad Sanmina-SCI Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd finally agreed to pay RM2.61 million as additional compensation to the 856 retrenched workers, there was more the state government could do to prevent a recurrence.
“I empathise with our workers because there are insufficient safeguards for their interests and rights in our Labour Ordinance, and our development policies are open to exploitation by rich multinational corporations, very much to the disadvantage of our state and more so, detrimental to our workers.”
He pointed out that the retrenchment or lay-off benefits for Sarawakian workers under the Labour Ordinance “are lower in the national context”.
Thus, he pledged to write to the state Attorney-General’s Chambers to propose necessary amendments.
He said to safeguard workers’ interests, the government “should encourage the organisation of unions and make necessary provisions to clothe the unions and their members with legal protection”.
In the meantime, he said it would be equally vital for the government to make sure development policies “are balanced in attracting investors and protecting the state’s interests” he said.
“We must make sure investors commit for the long haul, expanding their capabilities in line with Sarawak’s economic, infrastructural and social development, and not at the cost of exploiting our labour force and natural environment.”
He said the Sama Jaya Free Industrial Zone was a good example of the state’s policy of offering prime industrial land, fully serviced with all necessary infrastructures to investors at a remarkably low price.
Investors were also offered favourable payments while all potential investors granted the most comprehensive, competitive and advantageous financial and commercial incentives compared to those offered elsewhere in Malaysia, he added.