MTUC slams Malaysian Employers Federation after retrenchment warning

Commuters disembark at the Maluri MRT station on the first day of the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur May 4, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Commuters disembark at the Maluri MRT station on the first day of the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur May 4, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) today said that the Malaysian Employers Federation's (MEF) warning that the country could see about two million retrenchments after Hari Raya is to pressure the government into dishing out more concessions and financial assistance to the business community.

MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said MEF’s warning is a blatant attempt by employers to shy away from their responsibility in helping the government to ensure unemployment is kept to a minimum.

“MEF members who are laying off workers and making threats to retrench even more employees after Hari Raya are committing an unconscientious and dishonorable act.

“Even after being given billions of ringgit in financial assistance and wage subsidies, these employers are clearly just thinking of their own self-interest,” he said in a statement.

He also said MEF statement is regrettable as it was issued just one day after the Yang DiPertuan Agong had urged employers to do all they can to keep workers in their jobs as all quarters need to sacrifice and do their part in helping Malaysia recover from the Covid-19 crisis.  

“MEF’s warning of massive retrenchments clearly shows its insolence against the palace, in its overzealousness to pander to the selfish needs of its members,” he added.

Solomon also said that MTUC is against any attempt to force workers into taking pay cuts and reducing their work hours as it would affect their livelihood, especially in the present situation. 

He also said that MEF's demands that employers be allowed to lower the EPF contributions from 11 per cent to five per cent and for new laws to be enacted to reduce their overheads is a blatant attempt to profit from the Covid-19 pandemic and most inhumane.

He urged the government to take swift action and not be bullied into giving more concessions as it will only increase the sufferings of workers.

“The government must also hold MEF accountable and demand full transparency for the billions of ringgit they have been handed to ensure that businesses keep afloat and workers keep their jobs,” he said.

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