By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sabah has demanded that the State government to urgently intervene and solve the problems faced by workers of Sabah Forest Industries (SFI).
With the Sabah government retaining a share in the company that produces paper, while the Chairman, who is also the State Secretary, it’s only logical for the government to intervene in this problem that affects some 1,500 Sabahan workers.
Catherine Jikunan, Secretary of MTUC Sabah said the State government has an obligation towards the SFI workers, towards the workers’ families as well as the Sipitang community at large.
“The State government should not just keep quiet and do nothing,” she said in a statement Thursday.
“The State government now cannot pretend that SFI is not their responsibility.”
Martin Andong, the President of the Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU) had recently confirmed that the affected workers are all Sabahan, and that they had been working with SFI for a long time.
In addition to some 1,390 employees to be laid off on condition of 50 percent of the employees’ salary be deducted for 6 months, another batch of workers who are still under probation are been terminated.
Added Catherine: “MTUC Sabah is alarmed by the recent announcement by the SFI management to lay off almost half of their workforce.
“We have contacted STIEU our affiliated Union in Sipitang, on this matter and according to them more than 1,500 workers are affected in this latest exercise by the management.
“MTUC Sabah is questioning the way the management is handling the workers issues. Workers are complaining that they were only informed on November 28, 2017 through an Internal Memo and were briefed on the following day by the Management.
“Everyone is shocked.”
Martin had earlier said that there was no engagement or discussion with STIEU prior to the announcement. Many issues affecting the workers was not discussed, many questions were not answered.
“We demand that SFI be transparent, engage and discuss this matter with the Union who are representing the workers. The workers’ predicament must be addressed. If the company is laying off 1,390 workers or more, can you imagine how many people (in all) are affected?
“Their families, spouses and children are all dependent on them. SFI should be more compassionate and humane when handling their workers,” said Catherine.
“To the State government, we call upon your immediate intervention to save these Sabahan workers from losing their jobs with SFI. Be the government that we elected; duty-bound to the rakyat of Sabah.”
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