Move to outsource functions overseas riles up bank union

NUBE secretary-general J Solomon.

PETALING JAYA: Vocal bankers union NUBE has accused HSBC of violating a collective agreement, saying the foreign-owned bank has outsourced bank functions to India, Sri Lanka and vendors within Malaysia which could see the lay-off of some 200 Malaysian workers.

NUBE, or the National Union of Bank Employees, also claimed that HSBC refused to hold consultations with its members as required under Article 14 of the Malaysian Commercial Banks Association (MCBA)/NUBE Collective Agreement.

NUBE secretary-general J Solomon also questioned Putrajaya, saying the human resources ministry (MOHR) had failed to step in.

“All this anti-union and exploitation happened under the nose of MOHR which failed to give even a slap on the wrist despite us writing several letters of complaint to the authorities,” Solomon said in a statement, adding that the outsourcing amounted to “ingratitude” for local workers as profits were now used to enrich companies abroad.

Solomon said NUBE had repeatedly reached out to HSBC to discuss a road map to retrain workers affected by the decision.

“However, HSBC wrote to us on Nov 11 saying they could not accede to any of our requests. The bank went ahead and engaged a third party to issue laying-off letters on Nov 13 to its employees, totally disregarding Article 14 of the CA,” he said.

When contacted, a senior human resources officer at HSBC, Alan Sunil Netto, refused to comment, and referred FMT to the bank’s corporate communications department. Attempts to reach the department have failed as of press time.

Solomon meanwhile hit out at HSBC CEO Stuart Milne, saying he had been “unscrupulous and hasty” in the decision.

He also asked if the move to displace local staff was reflective of HSBC’s commitment in Malaysia, including a RM1 billion investment for its new headquarters in TRX City.

He urged the authorities including the finance and human resources ministries as well as Bank Negara Malaysia to step in.