National Union of Banking Employees (NUBE) has condemned the action of Alliance Bank in giving out the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) to its lower income earning workers, which are made of the clerical and non-clerical workers.
The group organized the picket in front of the Alliance Bank Head Quarters at Capital Square, Jalan Munshi Abdullah from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm.
NUBE General Secretary J Solomon condemned Alliance Bank’s issuance of the Voluntary Separation Scheme(VSS) without consulting the Union beforehand.
“They have violated Article 6, of the Collective agreement which clearly states that employer must discuss any decision affecting the employee with the Union,” said Solomon.
“The Ministry Of Human Resource has also fallen prey to the despicable practices of the bank by approving the issuance of the VSS. This is not only ludicrous but also negligent, as they failed to examine the merits of the VSS before approving the VSS issuance.”
According to Solomon the Malaysian government needs to keep to its promise by implementing the Global Jobs Pact, it signed in the International Labour Organization(ILO) Conference in 2009.
The Global Jobs Pact is a set of balanced and realistic policy measures that countries, can adopt to generate sustainable and long term jobs. The pact is aimed at generating employment, extending social protection, respecting labor standards, promoting social dialogue and shaping fair globalization.
Solomon also urged the government to walk the talk, promising social dialogue and change to the international community in the ILO conference is not enough, but the necessary action must follow.
“We demand the government to fix all these problems and to punish Alliance Bank for their misdeeds and cruel treatment towards the lower income earners in Alliance Bank.”
Solomon also said that Alliance Bank is also misusing the VSS as a weapon to target the lowest income group, the clerks. The inception of the VSS was to function as a last resort for the employer in an event of retrenchment.
Meanwhile Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad (ABMB) rebutted NUBE’s allegation by saying that there is no Article in the Collective Agreement that stipulates that the Bank has to consult with the Union before undertaking a VSS exercise.
According to the written response provided by the Group Communications Division, it has never been a practice to do so and in spite of this, the Bank had, on its own accord, notified the Union in writing on 12 June 2013 of the intended exercise.
In addition, the Bank also said that they have taken all measures to ensure that the VSS offer is a competitive package and have communicated openly and in a transparent manner with regards to the VSS to the employees concerned, to enable them to make informed decisions.
Further to that the Bank also said that they had provided post-separation support in the form of a Career Continuation Workshop for employees who were successful in applying for the VSS.
Meanwhile, according to the ABMB, Article 6 of the Collective Agreement does not state that the employers must discuss any decision affecting the employee with the union.
The written reply said Article 6 merely recognises the Union as the sole negotiator for employees within the scope of their representation. Article 6 does not require prior discussion with the Union. In fact, such a suggestion would run counter to the employer’s right as recognised under Article 5 of the Collective Agreement, which is the right of the Bank to operate and manage its business in all respects.
ABMB also said that the acceptance of this offer is strictly on a voluntary basis and we reiterate that no group of individuals have been targeted. In its ongoing efforts to improve efficiency and productivity, the Bank has embarked on a series of initiatives including the consolidation of similar support functions, implementation of new business and operating systems as well as the streamlining of operational processes to serve customers better. As a result of these initiatives, the Bank has identified a number of surplus positions in support functions within the Bank.