CORONAVIRUS | The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has urged the government to ensure that the proposed special stimulus package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) safeguards the interests and welfare of employees.
MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said the package, expected to be announced next week, should come with appropriate conditions and provisions to prevent employers from laying off workers or cutting their wages at a time when the country is reeling from the effects of Covid-19.
“MTUC is worried because there are already reports of certain employers pressuring workers to resign and take voluntary pay cuts, as well as being encouraged to take leave, without heeding the government's directives.
"In this regard, the government should, through the Minister of Human Resources, formulate an Emergency Wage Regulation to prevent scenarios such as lay-offs, pay cuts and workers being forced to take annual leave within the next year," he said in a statement today.
The MTUC also requested the government to ensure that protection of workers' interests would be a primary condition for SMEs to obtain financial assistance from the government.
“It should be stressed that whatever cash assistance provided to SMEs should be used to maintain the services of their employees as well as secure their employment in the long term. In the end, this is the priority of the workers, the government and employers," he said.
On Friday, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz was reported to have said that the ministry was in the midst of refining a special stimulus package for SMEs to help ease the difficulties faced by the industry.
Solomon said any attempt by irresponsible employers to abuse the assistance given, such as by giving themselves a higher pay or using it for entertainment allowance, should be prevented at all costs.
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