True Fitness staff file complaint over unpaid salaries

Ex-staff of True Fitness and members gather outside the Labour Department at Subang Jaya to file complaints against the fitness chain.

PETALING JAYA: Staff of True Fitness who were suddenly told of the fitness centre franchise’s sudden closure last Saturday, already had an inkling the company was not in the pink of health.

Shahrul Hamiri Shaharuddin, who had been the fitness manager at the fitness chain’s outlet in Taipan, said the staff already noticed something was not right when maintenance of equipment and utilities at clubs started to deteriorate.

“The strongest pointer was when the air-conditioning at the club was suddenly not working for a week before the company closed down.

“We received a lot of complaints from members. How do you expect gym members to do their routines without any air-conditioning? They would suffocate,” he told the press.

Some 30 True Fitness staff lodged their complaints at the Subang Jaya labour department here, today.

The main complaints were that the company had not paid most of the staff their salaries and commissions were also owed to most of them from as far as four months back.

“The exact amount of back pay salaries differs for each employee. But in commission alone, True Fitness owes us more than RM60,000 since June 2016,” he said.

There are about 100 staff under the True Fitness chain which spans three clubs in Jaya 33, Sunway Giza and Taipan.

“We have attempted to contact the management and our home office but there is no response,” Shahrul said.

The True Fitness fiasco does not stop with just its staff, as members feel they have been left in the lurch too.

Anthony Tan joined True Fitness as a member three years ago and he was shocked when he received the news about the sudden closure.

Anthony Tan, a member who with his wife signed up for a lifetime membership package worth RM16,400 in Feb, last year.

“Me and my wife upgraded our membership to the True Fitness lifetime package in February last year, paying a total of RM16,400,” he said to the media.

Tan said some members had also heard rumours a few months back about the closing down of the fitness chain.

However, when members started to seek clarification from the operations department, they were told that everything was “business as usual”.

“And I was shocked when CHi Fitness issued a statement that they would only cover 2,000 monthly passes.

“True Fitness have been in Malaysia for more than 12 years. Members itself could number more than 20,000. How can you cover only 2,000?” Tan said.

Legal action

Another True Fitness member, Chen Yu Szen who was representing the members said they will take legal action against True Fitness for allegedly being unfair to members.

“We will leave it to the legal process now. At this point, most importantly we will gather the numbers this Saturday and Sunday so we can proceed with the legal process,” he said.

Chen, who also works as a legal counsel, said there may be a possibility of True Fitness staff and members filing separate legal cases.

“But it will all depend on the consensus later whether to file separately or together,” she said.

The True Fitness chain of gym clubs had abruptly ended its operations in Malaysia on Saturday after posting a notice on its website about its closure.

Staff were kept in the dark and members were promised arrangement with another fitness chain, CHi Fitness, to continue their workout routine.

However, just two days after True Fitness shut its doors, CHi Fitness issued a statement saying that there had been no agreement between them and True Fitness on any membership transfers.

It said on its Facebook posting, CHi Fitness will only cover 2,000 monthly passes for True Fitness members.

True Fitness is a Singapore-based company and is currently still operating in Singapore and Taiwan, and is planning for expansion in the China market.

On June 5, True Fitnes founder and group CEO Patrick Wee told the Singapore Straits Times that the company had US$100 million (RM430 million) in reserves and was planning an expansion into China.

True Fitness owes us 4 months’ back pay, say ex-staff