The National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) has alleged that HSBC Malaysia is forcing some of its staff to leave through a Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS), in one of the country’s highest profile labour disputes of recent years.
Despite being a scheme for voluntary redundancy, senior employees from the “lowest income group” are being encouraged to take redundancy, said NUBE general secretary J Solomon. At the same time, they are being replaced by new hires.
“Though HSBC claims it is voluntary, on the contrary those who refuse to opt for the VSS are being threatened and intimidated by forcing them to accept the VSS or be subjected to vindictive transfers,” Solomon told the Malay Mail.
Solomon claims that an NUBE member, T. Sethupaty, was given a VSS letter on 13 February but did not accept the offer.
Mr Sethupaty, a union representative, was then allegedly issued with a transfer letter to a bank branch 60km away from his current workplace. He was told to hand over his work and begin working from the new location this month.
NUBE also alleges that HSBC has refused to engage in negotiations regarding employees who are union members and has breached the mandatory requirement for consultations before outsourcing NUBE members’ job functions.
HSBC Malaysia was contacted for a response but has yet to make a statement.
Earlier this year, the Malaysian government announced that it planned to introduce a mandatory employment insurance scheme to protect workers. But employers’ groups argued the low rate of retrenchments does not justify the heavy cost.
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