Bank employees picket for better pay

KUALA LUMPUR: They came by the busloads. And while the adults carried banners to speak for their rights, the children took part in a colouring contest. 

More than 10,000 bank employees and their families gathered at Menara Maybank here yesterday for a three-hour show of support for better salaries. 

“This is the first national picket, with members from all over the country coming together to express disappointment and frustration for being neglected by employers,” said National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) general secretary J. Solomon. 

“We will continue to picket until the members get a pay increase. Next month, we plan to picket outside the head office of CIMB Bank,” he said.  

“Through these pickets we want the management to understand our plight and to ensure the welfare and livelihood of the employees. We also want them to share their profits with the workers,” he added. 

To ensure the picketing did not cause a disturbance to the public, the police barricaded the five-foot path outside the building where the employees held their peaceful demonstration. 

The NUBE and the Malayan Commercial Banks' Association (MCBA) had negotiated since Nov 15 last year for a collective agreement.  

Solomon said: “It is ironic that the banks are refusing to increase our pay by 30% when salaries of civil servants had increased by more than 40%.” 

He said many members had to borrow to celebrate Hari Raya and Deepavali because their income was inadequate in the wake of the increase in the cost of living triggered by the fuel price rise.  

MCBA executive director S. Sivagnanam said the matter had been referred to the industrial court and it had been fixed for mention on Tuesday. 

“We have agreed to the 30% bonus adjustment which incorporates the two current months contractual bonus,” Sivagnanam added.  

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