The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) wants the cost of living allowance (Cola) of RM300 to be paid to private sector employees as well.
In a statement today, Penang MTUC secretary K Veeriah (photo, above) said the federal government, when implementing Cola for the civil service in the 1970s, also imposed that it be paid to private sector employees as well.
"It is, thus, our view that equity and good conscience would dictate that a cost of living allowance be made payable to private sector employees as there can be no justification to do otherwise," Veeriah said.
He said this in response to Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran’s announcement that the government would consider a review of the existing Cola paid to civil servants.
Yesterday, Bernama quoted the minister as saying that the allowance, set at RM300, RM250 and RM150, depending on the location, was last reviewed in 2012.
Kula said this during the signing of the collective agreement between the National Union of Bank Employees and the Malaysian Commercial Banks Association in Kuala Lumpur.
According to the news agency, under the agreement, some 20,000 bank employees in clerical and non-clerical categories from 20 banks will receive salary adjustments of between 10 percent and 12 percent.
They will also receive Cola of RM600, revised from RM400, from Jan 1.
"While the Penang MTUC Division welcomes a revision of the civil servants' cost of living allowance, not forgetting a revision of their wages and related terms and conditions of employment, it wishes to urge the government to mandate a cost of living allowance to be paid to private sector employees," Veeriah said.
"Given the indisputable fact that employees, whether in the public or private sector, are faced with the same cost of living factors, it would make no sense for the exclusion of private sector employees from such payment, as it stands now.
"As a matter of fact, MTUC has made that demand, that a cost of living allowance of RM300 is made mandatory for private sector employees," he added.