20,000 bank employees to picket – NUBE
KUALA LUMPUR: THE National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) will air its grievances by picketing at major banks here on Saturday afternoon.
The picket, to be held along Jalan Mahameru to Jalan Tun Perak, was a move of solidarity to oppose exploitation and the violation of their rights by their employers, said NUBE secretary-general J. Solomon.
“Banks are unfairly exercising their financial muscle to actively compromise on the welfare of the workers and the customers of the bank,” said Solomon.
The move came in response to failed attempts to engage with the management of the banks, regulators and even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Saturday’s picket action, named “Picket Daulat 6413”, marks one year since NUBE’s meeting with Najib, who had initially agreed with the NUBE representatives that they were being exploited.
However, no action had been taken in the time since. “The victims, unfortunately, are the workers and customers who have actively contributed to the growth and success of these financial institutions,” said Solomon.
The bank employees union expected 20,000 members to converge for the picket, targeting Maybank, CIMB Bank and Bank Muamalat specifically for having let the union down.
NUBE revealed ten demands at a press conference at their headquarters yesterday, including demanding banks to stop abusing pregnant workers and stop laying off senior workers, acts that NUBE say goes against the collective agreement.
Additionally, the union also protested cost-cutting methods and miss-selling to customers.
“For instance, CIMB Bank instructed its bank branches last March to stop displaying portraits of the King and Queen to cut costs. We at NUBE strongly feel this is a violation of the Rukun Negara, specifically the tenet of ‘loyalty to King and country’,” said Solomon.
The intimidation of trade union leaders was also a major grouse for NUBE, citing coercion, and even dismissal of union members participating in union activities.
Solomon also cited the formation of an in-house union within Maybank as an attempt to divide and rule the employees of the bank, who are already members of NUBE.
“The prime minister himself told us he did not agree with banks dismissing employees furtherance to a trade dispute,” the NUBE secretarygeneral said, adding the union felt personally disappointed in the prime minister for not taking action in his capacity as Finance Minister on the government-linked banks for violating workers’ rights.