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NUJ slams Utusan VSS, chastises Umno for not protecting Malay workers

Published:  |  Modified:

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has criticised Utusan Melayu media group's voluntary separation scheme (VSS) for being an allegedly insincere offer.

The union also hit out at Umno, whom it said had failed to look after its Malay employees.

"What is the use of Umno shouting about protecting the Malays all this while if the fate of Malay employees in their own company are not protected," it said in a statement today.

It said that Umno, as the biggest shareholder in Utusan Melayu, should review the decision made by group chairperson Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir in offering the VSS.

The NUJ claimed that the decision to offer the VSS had been rushed through without first consulting the union.

It also said the VSS rate was much lower than the retrenchment package included in the union's collective agreement with Utusan Melayu.

It also questioned whether Utusan Melayu was genuinely capable of paying out the VSS.

NUJ said that if Umno could not review the VSS, then it should heed the union's repeated calls for the party to surrender its shares in the media group.

Yesterday it was reported that Utusan Melayu offered VSS to 800 staff members, which represents more than half of its 1,500-strong workforce.

The VSS exercise applies to both Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo!, as well as the group's magazines MastikaSaji, Infiniti, and Wanita.

Utusan has been struggling financially. Previously, its NUJ branch urged employees to refrain from going out into the field as a sign of protest against delayed salary and allowance payments.

The group's annual report states that its total liabilities stood at RM328.17 million as of Dec 31, last year, up from RM302.2 million in 2016.

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