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Laid off workers in quandary

 | September 11, 2013

Workers of Japanese firm left in a lurch with sudden closure of business.


PUTRAJAYA: A total 45 laid off employees of a Japanese firm producing audio visual products are demanding Human Resources Minister Richard Riot to champion their rights.

In a letter dated July 17 this year to the employees, Sanon Kogyo Sdn Bhd managing director Noriyuki Uwajima informed them that the company is winding up “ due to high production costs and low revenue effective immediately”.

Their plant is located in Bandar Baru Bangi.

This morning, about 25 of its’ laid off workers staged a picket to highlight their plight.

“We want the company to pay us salaries for the month of May and June,” said 49-year-old Hatijah Halimi who worked in the company for almost 23 years.

“We want work compensation based on our years of service. We are unable to get jobs now because of age factor,” she said.

Another ex-staff claimed that the company only paid summons instead of contributing to their employment provident fund (EPF) and social security (SOCSO) accounts.

“EPF and Socso contributions were deducted for the past 18 months but it is not in our accounts,” said Azizam Alang who worked there for the past 19 years.

Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas workers’ rights coordinator M Sivaranjani who led the workers today questioned the manner in which the workers were laid off.

“There is a proper procedure to follow if you lay off workers. Employers must stop overtime and inform workers earlier of their plans to lay them off.

“However, Sanon Kogyo Sdn Bhd paid overtime until June,” she said.

Management washing hands

She also said that Noriyuki Uwajima is attempting to wash off his hands when the case was brought to the Bangi labour office.

A case was filed there on July 22.

During the dispute hearing on September 5, Uwajima made a statutory declaration that he is not the company director.

The case was subsequently heard at the Labour Court.

“We want the minister to forbid Uwajima from absconding,” said Sivaranjani.

In addition to this, she also requested Riot to use the retrenchment fund to support the laid off workers.

Later a group of eight workers had a meeting with representatives from the Human Resources Ministry.

Labour Department’s senior assistant director Rhymie Mohd Ramli said, “the ministry can’t take action because the case is on trial.”

On the demands over EPF and Socso contributions, he said there were mechanisms within the respective departments to take action.

As for the retrenchment funds, he said he would relay the demand to his superiors.


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