PETALING JAYA: The government should make it compulsory for banks to set aside a certain percentage of their profits for a workers’ trust fund to be used during any crisis, said Daim Zainuddin.
In addition, the former economic adviser to the government said a representative from the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) should also be given a seat on the banks’ board of directors.
“I would suggest that companies set aside a certain percentage of profits as a trust fund for workers’ welfare.
“To ensure fairness and justice for workers, it is time NUBE was invited to have a representative on the board of banks so that management can get input from workers,” he said in a special message read out during NUBE’s virtual Labour Day celebrations.
Daim, who was a former finance minister when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister, said he was shocked to note the huge income disparity between the workers and the management.
He described the bank managements as being “insensitive” in this context as while they were earning huge salaries and bonuses, the rakyat were suffering.
“And NUBE has to plead for better conditions for its members. Remember to take good care of your staff as they will then work hard to give you better profits.”
Daim said bank workers are facing many challenges now, especially the fear of losing their jobs as banks head further towards digitalisation and automation, with the emergence of virtual banking.
“As such, employers should seriously engage NUBE on the road map to changes in the banking industry and their lack of reskilling and upskilling efforts.
“It will be a gross injustice for the stakeholders to ignore the pleas of the bank workers. Treat bank workers as partners and they will in return give their best to their employers and to the nation.”
NUBE general secretary J Solomon, in his speech, said the poor rate of unionisation in the country had made some banks bold in acting arbitrarily against active union members.
“NUBE needs to be strong and active to fight some evil banks, especially the multinational ones, which are only interested in reaping profits at the expense of Malaysians.”