KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has appealed to companies in the country, particularly those in the state, not to sack their staff despite the tough times caused by Covid-19 in its Labour Day message.
Ahead of the celebration tomorrow, Sabah MTUC secretary Catherine Jikunan said although the government had provided assistance to enable businesses to retain their workforce, many workers had been asked to leave.
She said she had handled many cases of termination of workers in Sabah from all sectors since the movement control order (MCO) was announced.
“This is very sad as workers were loyal and productive during the companies’ good times but their contributions are not being considered now.
“Businesses should at least have compassion and try to retain their workers and not immediately terminate their services,” she said.
Jikunan said she understood it would be challenging for businesses to pick up after the MCO ended.
“We foresee there will be many who will lose their jobs, forced to go on unpaid leave or have their salary cut,” she said.
She urged the government to continue providing assistance to workers who were retrenched, or who had their salaries cut or had no pay due to the stay-at-home order until the economic situation improved.
“We urge the government to protect workers both now and after the MCO is lifted, especially workers in the private sector,” she said.
Acknowledging the mounting pressure on the government to lift the MCO, Jikunan said the safety and health of the entire workforce was paramount.
“In the face of an infectious disease outbreak, how we protect our workers now clearly dictates how safe our communities are.
“The government and businesses must also give greater attention to their workers that have been diagnosed with depression and stress during this period.
“MTUC hopes that by working hand in hand, we will be able to get through this difficult time,” she said.
In spite of the situation, Jikunan said, they would still celebrate Labour Day, albeit without the usual physical gatherings.
“We accept that this year, the celebration will be different. However, MTUC will still celebrate this important occasion by using Facebook live stream tomorrow,” she said, adding that this year’s theme was “Pekerja Nadi Negara” (the workforce is the pulse of the country).
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