KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The National Union of Bank Employees (Nube) today called out bank chief executives for allegedly showing little appreciation for their staff, amid a dispute over Aidilfitri aid that the group said was promised in prior negotiations.

The union accused banks of ignoring calls for the aid to continue from last year, and also brought up the issue of insufficient prayer spaces in banks.

“Their empty promises as compassionate employers were exposed. During their administration, they seem to focus only on maximising personal profits by exploiting the system,” it said.

“Recent examples include the Hari Raya Aid incident and the issue of insufficient prayer room space at bank branches,” it added, referring to complaints from several employees.


The aid was not given this year, which sparked an outcry and a prolonged dispute, but executives claimed the aid was meant to be one-off and not handed out annually.

Earlier this month, Nube alleged that Human Resources Minister Steven Sim’s decision to discuss a one-off festivity bonus with employers in their absence is against an International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention.

The union said the meeting with the Malayan Commercial Banks’ Association was a “gross violation of ILO rules” because Sim can be seen as siding with employers while negotiations are ongoing.


The union also said today that employees have provided photographs to it that showed workers had to pray in very small spaces that could also be unsafe because some of them were believed to be converted storerooms.

“This shows that even with significant profits, some managements are unwilling to provide adequate facilities for workers to worship with dignity or celebrate religious and cultural festivals without any financial burden,” the union said.

Photos of alleged prayer rooms provided to banking staff. — Picture courtesy of National Union of Bank Employees
Photos of alleged prayer rooms provided to banking staff. — Picture courtesy of National Union of Bank Employees

Malay Mail could not independently verify the allegations.

Nube also urged the top management to show greater appreciation towards their staff, calling them “the main arteries” that ensure the overall smooth operations and success of their banks.

It said the main reason for the banks’ growing business is the positive interactions the customers encounter daily with the bank staff.

“Bank workers are the main arteries that drive the business, profits, and wealth of banks, ensuring that operations run smoothly,” Nube said.

“However, the upper management often creates the impression that bank employees’ contributions are insignificant, instead highlighting their own roles as more critical.”