Sunday, June 9, 2013

Human rights defenders face a tragic fate - Al’ Jamil(FMT Letter)

Human rights defenders face a tragic fate

June 5, 2013
FMT LETTER: From Al’ Jamil, via e-mail

My name is Abdul Jamil Jalaludeen, and I am the vice-president of NUBE. I was dismissed by my employer, Maybank Bhd after 20 years of service. My fellow union brother, Chen Ka Fatt (general treasurer of NUBE) was also dismissed after 30 years of service to Maybank. Why were we fired, you might ask? We were dismissed simply because we fought to defend human rights and well as the rights of NUBE members in Maybank Bhd

Many of us do not realise the importance of a union. It is often brushed off as a communistic cabal of blue collar workers demanding higher pay. Many of us do not realise that our cause is the same as the guy next door, we are only asking for a fair share of the economic pie

For instance, the former CEO of Maybank Abdul Wahid Omar took home a whopping RM6.26 million last year. One man, one family enjoys such lavish income. It is no secret that corporate fat cats earn a killing, but Maybank also lavishly spends our hard earned contribution to the company by channeling company profits to entertain the rich and famous to The Malaysian Golf Open where in 2011 they sponsored the cash prize money amounting to RM7.5 million and RM6.4 million in 2010 and 2009.

This is unpretentiously a smokescreen to earn fame in the pretext of Corporate Social Responsibility, I would know; I worked in Maybank for a decade. When we ask for a performance bonus after multiple profitable quarters? We are denied. We were not only denied but also had our rights obscenely violated when an in-house union was formed in Maybank. An in-house union clearly violates Malaysian and International Labour Standards. This is a clear act of desperation to divide and conquer us.

As a shrewd and cunning capitalist, Wahid will decimate the lower and middle class in his efforts to make this an aristocratic state. His appointment as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department will hinder Malaysia’s progress of ever bridging the income inequality gap. How is it that I am sacked, my wife and three (3) children are deprived of a livelihood, for standing up for my basic human rights, and yet Wahid is promoted to Minister?

A stab in the back!

I will never forget the Jan 31, 2012 because ever since I joined the Maybank’s Pulau Tikus branch in 1993 I have always come in to work early, way before any other bank personnel especially the Bank Manager. To my surprise, I saw my bank Manager in the office way before me on Jan 31,2012. She called me in and shoved a paper onto my hands, and explained the situation to me slowly.

Imagine the amount of weight on my shoulders, when I learned, that I was sacked for conducting union related activities. The betrayal of Maybank does not end there, to rub salt into my open wound, they canceled my credit card; I have mouths to feed.

The canceling of my credit card was the last straw, it was not like I had committed a crime, hell, I have even dealt with cases of dismissal involving fraud the but the employer does not cancel their credit card. I was merely exercising my right to freely express my contentions pursuant to a trade dispute and I am punished with such cruelty?

To add insult to injury, the first question my manager asked was, “Can I have your Medical Card back?”
Maybank accused me of causing disrepute to the bank by holding a banner bearing the words “Maybank robs poor Malaysian workers” at the International Labor Organisation convention in Geneva as part of our trade dispute campaign. However, they are the ones bringing disrepute to themselves, with their deep pockets and crafty lawyers, bullying me, the small guy.

I have received the High Performance Award 3 times during my time at Maybank, an award that was discontinued during Wahid’s regime, as a slight bonus was given alongside the award. Furthermore, I had various bank managers from all over the NUBE’s northern region which comprises Penang, Kedah and Perlis conveyed their dissatisfaction over my dismissal. As many times, I have helped settled multiple union disputes with bank managers.

They overlooked my capabilities as an outstanding employee and as a cooperating unionist, just to instill fear into other union members. In other words, to make an example out of me, they paralysed me financially. However this will not knock me down, I am confident of winning my wrongful dismissal case in court, and under the leadership of the Union led by president, Tan Eng Hong and general secretary, J Solomon with the undivided support of our 30 thousand-strong NUBE members, we will win!

Ask yourselves: If Trade Unions were not a force to be reckoned with, why do Corporations spend millions to challenge Unions? Why do Corporations fight so hard to defeat the Trade Unions?

To all the Kids out there, Unions are Cool!

To the younger generation, who are unfamiliar with unions, they are the only check and balance mechanism left in a capitalistic economy. Without unions, some of the most essential and unalienable workers’ rights will be trampled upon and bastardised.

I urge all Malaysians to realise this fact and realise that there are laws protecting workers. Trade Unionism cannot be alienated from Human Rights. Trade Union rights are human rights. The next time, when you are at work, and when you go out for a lunch break, be thankful towards these unions, because once upon a time, a lunch break did not exist. - FMT News, Human rights defenders face a tragic fate, June 5, 2013 FMT LETTER: From Al’ Jamil, via e-mail

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