Workers’ welfare must be looked after during Covid-19 shutdown: MTUC

PETALING JAYA: The government needs to rein in employers who refuse to pay the employees of companies that will be shut down over the next two weeks, said the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).

“This is most inhumane on the part of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) whose members will directly benefit from the government’s RM20 billion stimulus package and yet have no qualms about leaving their workers high and dry without income,“ MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said in a statement today.

“Workers must be assured of an adequate safety net when the shutdown is executed,” he added.

In this respect, Solomon called on the government to have a meeting with both MTUC and MEF to resolve this important issue as workers’ welfare and safety nets during this crisis are at risk for every day that payment is not made.

“We feel that if the welfare of Malaysia’s 15 million workers can be given the utmost priority it deserves, the government will have effectively dealt with any spill-over from the movement control order.

“However, based on the announcements by the prime minister thus far, it is clear that many low wage earners will suffer the brunt of the crisis,” Solomon said.

MTUC also feels that the government needs to announce a new stimulus package that is “more equitable, balanced and realistic” and can address the needs of workers.

“Perikatan Nasional must not delay showing its resolve to champion the rights and welfare of low wage earners. There is no better opportunity to do so then now, when they are facing such dire challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Solomon added

Finally, MTUC states that the banking industry must step in to meet their obligations to help the workers, adding: “What would help the workers significantly is a moratorium on their housing and vehicle bank loans until they get back on their feet.”