MALAYSIA: Wage sell-out provokes anger

Issue 

BY EVA CHENG

A February 7 pay deal, signed by plantation owners and the yellow union, the National Union of Plantation Workers, has proven to be a farce and a sell-out, the Plantation Workers Support Committee declared on July 19.

The deal was announced just before palm oil workers, responding to a call from the PWSC, were to hold a major protest for a decent wage package centering around monthly, rather than daily, pay. The protest was called off after the deal was announced.

Six months later, the PWSC has revealed the results of an extensive survey which shows how little the deal has delivered.

It found, among other things, that workers were still paid daily rather than monthly wages; that the basic guaranteed monthly wage of 325 Malaysian ringgit was being actively circumvented; and that real wages had dropped to lower than than the levels four years ago, as the official wage increment of 6% fell far short of the inflation rate of 15%.

Angered by the betrayal, the PWSC has said it is sticking by its original wage package proposal and is planning a course of action.

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