KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) has urged banks to stop spreading the fear culture that non-executive employees would be made redundant as the financial sector ramps up its digitalisation transformation.
Its secretary-general J. Solomon said several banks have been telling NUBE members that their jobs were at risk when their work is automated or digitalised.
"We urge these banks to stop spreading such fears and instead emulate other banks which had provided the necessary upskilling to bank employees to ensure they remain relevant to needs of the banking sector," he said at the opening of NUBE's 24th Triennial Delegates Conference in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan, today.
He said that union members were not opposed to digitalisation but wanted to be given the necessary training and upskilling.
Solomon also said that NUBE was especially upset with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for refusing the union's invitations to explain the public policies in place to protect the livelihood of workers in the era of digitalisation.
"BNM has all the experts in digital banking and are in the best position to speak directly to our members and address their fears. Yet they always give excuses not to turn up.
"Even today, they did not turn up for our panel discussion on digitalisation in the banking sector. But we are happy that the Microsoft and representatives from other banks participated," he said.
Solomon said BNM's passive attitude sends the wrong message to employees in the banking sector.
"By refusing to address the concerns of our members, BNM may be directly encouraging banks to sideline the welfare of workers in their pursuit of digitalisation.
"There are banks which are looking after the worker' interests but there are also banks doing exactly the opposite in going digital to maximise profits and reduce their work force," he said.
Solomon said financial institutions should move away from being profit-oriented into striking a balance between profits and humanity as the wave of digitalisation is set to hit the industry like a tsunami.
He said NUBE members want to embrace the changes and do not want to provoke any confrontation with banks which were using digitalisation to merely maximise profits and downsize the very work force which enable them to earn huge profits over the years.
Solomon said NUBE would be forced to take industrial action if pushed to do so by banks which continue to disregard the livelihood of workers, especially union members who are in the B40 and M40 groups.
"In their haste for profits, the banks and the government have completely ignored humanity and the well-being of the workers who had helped build these institutions for decades. Let me remind them that they cannot progress alone but need these workers to forge ahead," he said.
Citing an example, he said some banks were implying that there was no need for clerical staff when automation replaces several aspects of the banking jobs but the union investigation showed that it was not the case.
"We have found that the executives were merely performing the task of machine operators upon digitalisation. This is not what the change should be. This is not the spirit of the whole process," he said.
Source : https://www.nst.com.my/…/618271/stop-fear-culture-nube-tell…