PSM: Urgent need for Workers’ Retrenchment Fund

SIVARAJAN,Richard-Rio

KUALA LUMPUR: Human Resources Minister Richard Riot must immediately work on establishing a comprehensive Workers’ Retrenchment Fund in the wake of increasing retrenchments, says Parti Sosialis Malaya (PSM) Secretary-General Sivarajan Arumugam.

“Despite the increasing number of workers being retrenched, PSM is disappointed that the human resources minister is still turning a deaf ear to the demand to establish a Workers’ Retrenchment Fund to assist retrenched workers and their families,” Sivarajan said in a statement here today.

The fund, Sivarajan said, should take the form of a seed fund from the government, topped up by contributions from employers and employees, and managed by Socso (Social Security Organisation).

“PSM proposes that the fund provide immediate payouts to workers so that they do not fall into the poverty trap,” he said.

Sivarajan criticised the ministry, saying that the programmes it currently had were inadequate for retrenched workers.

“The ‘Program Latihan Semula’ (Retraining Programme) conducted by Institut Latihan Perindustrian and Institut Latihan Tenaga Manusia (Adtec) and an up-skilling or reskilling programme fail to provide immediate assistance to retrenched workers,” Sivarajan said.

“Workers who lose their jobs usually find it difficult to get new jobs as most employers are trying to reduce costs.

“Reskilling requires time and the affected workers end up defaulting on their car and housing repayments.”

Sivarajan’s concern follows reports last week that Intel factories in Penang and Kulim (Kedah) are likely to cut their workforce in line with the decision to reduce its headcount globally by 12,000 workers.

“The Labour Department reported that in 2014, 25,917 workers were retrenched, while the figure went up to 25,917 in 2015, an increase of more than 45%.

“The minister seems to be nowhere disturbed by this increasing figure as the economic climate still remains gloomy,” he said.