KUALA LUMPUR, 31 March 2009: The National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) today advised CIMB Bank employees to consult the union first before accepting the no-pay leave offered by their employer.
NUBE secretary-general J Solomon said this was to ensure that they would not lose out on the other perks while on leave.
He said the offer was not a surprise to the union, as the bank had earlier informed them about it.
“The offer should not be interpreted as an exercise to lay off workers because it is purely voluntary and the workers have the right to refuse it,” he told Bernama.
CIMB Group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said yesterday the company was offering its 36,000 staff extended unpaid leave under the “Staff Rejuvenation Programme” from next month as a cost-cutting measure due to the current economic situation.
He said the programme was not to lay off workers but to give them an option to take extended unpaid leave of between one and six months.
Solomon believed that not only CIMB Bank but all Banks in Malaysia were well capitalised and there was no danger of them facing any problem during the current economic downturn.
He praised Bank Negara for ensuring that the local banking sector was well regulated and workers were in no danger of losing their jobs.
“After the 1997 financial crisis and the consolidation of banks in Malaysia, the banking sector has become more resilient and is now in a strong position to ride out the economic downturn,” he added.
On the union’s proposal for a new collective agreement, he said it had already been prepared and submitted to the Association of Commercial Banks.
Under the proposal, the union which represents 30,000 bank employees is seeking a 30% across-the-board increase in salary.
Solomon was confident the banks would accept the proposal as it was based on the performance of the banks in the last three years and not on their projected profits in the future.
Meanwhile, the director-general of the Manpower Department, Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim, who is currently in Johor Baru, said his department would seek clarification from the bank on the offer.
“My department has not yet received any communication from the bank on the matter,” he said.
“As such, we are unable to ascertain whether the offer is a genuine no-pay leave or a disguised lay-off,” he added. — Bernama