I promised to blog about this for the sake of the workers. I happened to be there at the right time and the right place.
Representatives of workers from Nikko based in Prai sought the help of Anwar Ibrahim, the Permatang Pauh candidate, today, at one of Keadilan’s operations centre in Yayasan Aman, Penanti.
They were accompanied by Malaysian Trade Union Council (Penang branch) representative V. Vijaya.
The workers complaint that about 1,200 workers were given a 24 hours notice to pack up and leave the company on June 30.
Up till today, about 400 of them have not received their compensation money, which totals to about RM7.3 million.
Most of the workers were old timers, who had served the company for 15 years or so. As they were mostly between the ages of 35-40 years, they found it an uphill task to find for new jobs.
Many were middle-aged women and single mothers who lamented that they needed the money soon as they were running out of patience.
“Everything has gone up in price and hari raya is approaching,” they cried.
Anwar Ibrahim, who was present at the meeting said that he would look into the plight of the workers. He added that this situation cannot be condoned as it would set a precedent for other companies to follow suit.
He was accompanied by Perak chief minister, PAS’ Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who came to throw his support behind Anwar’s candidacy.
Mohammad Nizar was asked to attend the meeting as many of the workers hail from Perak. He assured them that there were schemes available to help them tie through this difficult times.
He also condemn the action of the company which retrenched the workers at short notice but added that the reason why the former ended up with a situation like this was due to Barisan Nasional’s government recent increase of fuel prices and other essential goods.
He echoed Anwar’s concerns that if action were not taken against wrongful dismissals, it would become a habit with companies out to cheat workers.
I felt the workers were indeed very wise to take opportunity of the current campaign period and by-election to voice out their grievances.
Hope they would indeed be paid their rightfulcompensation soon, hopefully before Merdeka or Ramadhan which would most probably begin on September 1.