Sunday, April 07, 2024

NUBE takes 3 unions to task for siding with HR Minister on duit raya for bank employees

Updated: In NUBE on a warpath against HR Minister Steven Sim, writer/seeker/teacher TheRealNehruism highlighted the National Union of Banking Employees’ displeasure with the Minister for stepping in to resolve its dispute with the banks over Hari Raya bonus payment. The article has garnered over 7k views and heated comments, not all of them supportive of Mr J. Solomon, the union chief:

“So NUBE will ask for one month’s bonus for every festive season? Bonus not specified is discretionary, subject to work performance!”

“(Solomon is) another useless idiot using NUBE, asking for bonus”.

Bru’s original posting

KL, 7 April: Four months into the job, Human Resources Minister Steven Sim has already incurred the wrath of NUBE. The trade union is upset with Sim for going behind its back. NUBE was demanding a month’s salary in duit raya for its 20,000 members who work in the banks until the minister came into the picture and “negotiated” with the banks. The minister’s intervention has resulted in the employees getting shortchanged, with some getting only half what they are entitled to under the agreement the union signed with the banks last year. But while NUBE is mad, several trade union leaders have lauded Sim as a hero!

I got in touch with Mr J. Solomon, the NUBE sec-gen, as soon as I’d received a Letter to the Editor wtih the rather dramatic title Does Steven Sim know what he is or what he is doing?

I asked Solomon:

1. Will NUBE be seeking a meeting with the Minister over this matter? 

2. A Sarawak union, Shafie Mammal and MTUC have commended the Minister for helping secure the Hari Raya angpow for the bank employees. Why did they take a different position to that of NUBE’s?

3. What’s your next course of action? 

Here’s the NUBE chief’s response to me:

Dear Bro, thank you for reaching out. 

We have written to (the Minister) directly, his Deputy, KSU, DGIR and also spoke to his IR Officers. 
We only called for the press conference after making all the efforts.  

In relation to Sarawak (union); Andrew has always been acting contrary to NUBE. In fact, NUBE’s negotiation on the FA was extended to Sarawak, so for him to laud the Minister is understandable. 

Shafie Mammal, I spoke to him personally but he claims he is not aware of our fight, which I find it hard to digest. 

As for MTUC, they have sold their soul long ago; and Effendy has no locus standi as the High Court has declared him and his team as invalid office bearers for he conducted the elections contrary to the Constitution.  They applied for a Stay Order but the Stay Order granted is only for administrative matters until the case is heard and decided upon. They cannot make any statement on behalf of affiliates or workers. 

MTUC, UNI and Sarawak never spoke to us or even approached us to understand what our fight is all about. 
It appears that someone coordinated with them to make the statements on the day our Press Conference Invite was sent out.  

Therefore, I believe you can see where this is all coming from. 

Thank you. 

The LETTER TO EDITOR tbat Solomon sent to the media:

6 Apr 2024

Does Steven Sim know who he is or what he is doing?

I am very intrigued by HR Minister Steven Sim's response to a recent press statement by NUBE in an FMT article titled “Banks” festival aid doesn’t extend beyond 2023, says HR ministry”.

In the ongoing dispute about Festival Aid that NUBE is having with the management of the banks, we have accused Steven in a press conference we held on April 5, of going behind NUBE’s back to betray and deprive the banking workers by striking an inferior and regressive deal with the management of the banks without NUBE’s consent, and to this, Steven basically said yes, that is exactly what he did.

To put it mildly, I find his response to be mind boggling.

In the FMT article, it is written that “the ministry said that after its minister, Steven Sim, offered to help untangle the situation and gave his views, the banks have agreed to give their workers half a month’s salary in festival aid.”

The above admission is basically Steven admitting that everything that NUBE is accusing him of doing is 100 percent true. The crux of our problem with Steven is that in our dispute with management of the banks, he only spoke to the management of the banks but not us, before agreeing to everything that the management of the banks said about the dispute, without even listening to our side of the story, and proceeded to authorise a deal that short changed the banking workers and is favourable to the management of the banks, as per the wishes of the management.

To hear Steven just admit that he did everything we accused him of doing is dumbfounding. It is like hearing a wrongdoer, in a matter-of-fact fashion, admit that they have wronged you, before making it sound like they have no idea why you are making a big fuss about them wronging you. How do you deal with such a person?

When I study further the responses that the HR Ministry gave FMT, I feel that Steven Sim might be accidentally betraying and shortchanging the workers, because he is just confused about who he is.

Observe the other statement that the HR Ministry has given FMT below.

“The National Union of Bank Employees’ (NUBE) demand that banks provide their workers a month’s salary in festival aid is only based on a memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed last year."

"The ministry said while the 2023 MoA stipulates that banks need to pay their workers a month’s salary in festival aid for that year, the Malaysian Commercial Banks Association (MCBA) had refused to accede to NUBE’s demand as the MoA does not promise any aid for 2024."

"(According to the MoA) payments of festival aid for the following years (after 2023) will be reviewed,”

I am familiar with all the arguments that the HR Ministry is stating here, but what boggles my mind is why is it the HR Ministry that is stating these arguments.

These are the arguments of the bank managements and their representatives. I can understand it, even if I don’t agree with it as it is normal for banks to renegade on agreements. This is precisely the reason NUBE is having a trade dispute with the banks and MCBA, in the first place, because NUBE has counter arguments to the bank’s position.

What I cannot even begin to fathom is why the HR Ministry is taking the same argument as the management of the banks, without listening to NUBE's side of the argument?

Is the HR Ministry and HR Minister a part of the government that is elected by the people or is it a part of the top management of the banks?

NUBE's problem with Steven is that although he is supposed to be the HR Minister, he is acting exactly like a CEO of the banks that we are having a dispute with.

It is because he is acting like the CEO of a bank despite being a Minister in the government that we accused him of being in cahoots with the banks in the first place.

But now when I hear Steven’s responses in FMT, although I still feel that Steven did betray and short-change the workers in collusion with the bank’s management, I also feel that perhaps he might have done it inadvertently.

 He might not be malicious. He might just be “unwell”. He is confused. He doesn’t know who is or what he is doing.

He might believe that he is a part of the solution when he is a part of the problem. He is likely betraying and short-changing the workers, while believing that he is helping the workers.

He needs to take a rest.

NUBE stands for the workers, and we are committed to fighting for the rights and welfare of our members.Wewillnotrestuntiljusticeisserved. Together,wewillovercome.

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