Wednesday, March 13, 2013



12 march 2013, Nilai, Negeri Sembilan

Around 6,000 workers mainly from Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh who are working in Recron, a member of The Reliance Group led by billionaire Ambani refused to implement the minimum wage of RM900 for its workers. Nevertheless, the company only implemented the Minimum wage for local workers.

Today more than 500 workers who have been holed up in a gated caged hostel in Nilai liberated themselves from their deplorable hostel to express their protest against the violation of Recron. They carried A4 size white paper demanding minimum wage RM 900 and shouted slogans. Many also showed their pay slips. Most have been earning below the minimum wage as low as RM 500 to RM700, in spite of working 12 hours a day for thirty days without leave. Many took the opportunity to highlight many other work place exploitation.

PSM activist who were present at the picket line were briefed by the workers. PSM Secretary General S.Arutchelvan was present. He was dismayed by the attitude of the officials from the Labour Department who have left the respective Embassies to deal with the issues. The workers were told by their respective embassies to wait for another 3 months and it seems that the company has applied for exemption. How can a multi mega rich company say that they cannot effort to pay basic salaries?  

Recron is an International Company producing Yarn - Spun Yarn and fabric. Their product are exported to USA, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, South East Asia, EEC, Far East countries. They employ 6,800 workers and are based in Nilai and Melaka.Most of the migrant workers are from Nepal, Bangladesh dan Vietnam. 

This afternoon, hundreds of workers shouted slogans. When the workers were asked who is their leaders, they claim that they are all leaders. The workers refuse to identify their workers leaders because previously the company deported their leaders. The workers seem to have gotten smart this time around.

In recent week, there seems to much confusion and lobbies by some quarters who wants to have a different wage scale for the local and foreign workers. PSM and JERIT have protested this move as it will only encourage companies to employ

Police stood by with anxiety. After much discussion between themselves as well as with PSM activist, the workers decided to discuss whatever option is available.

What is going on is a class war. What the Rich Multinational is trying to do is exploit and  play the racial game between local and foreign workers. The production here goes on non stop says the workers. They work 12 hours a day.  Yet they pay very low wages.

In recent weeks, there has been a number similar strikes and protest all over the country on the failure to implement the minimum wage. Meanwhile the companies are trying hard not to implement this act and waiting for the Government to do a U turn. Many are aware about Najib’s U turns.

The Minimum wage was a struggle which went on for decades. The Government finally agreed that market forces does not ensure fair wages. PSM has called for RM 1500 but in recent months have been trying to make the Government implement the RM 900 which itself is yet another big struggle.  PSM also called on the Government to have funds to help genuine SMEs who face problems implementing. Bail out the SMEs, not the big fat cats.

The workers finally went back to their hostel. It will be interesting to see if they will succeed or if they will be deported back soon. But for now their action on going on a 5 days strike is a serious note.
According to the search on the parent company,  The Reliance Group, founded by Dhirubhai H. Ambani is India's largest private sector enterprise, with businesses in the energy and materials value chain. Group's annual revenues are in excess of US$ 66 billion. The flagship company, Reliance Industries Limited, is a Fortune Global 500 company and is the largest private sector company in India.
The Group's activities span exploration and production of oil and gas, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals (polyester, fibre intermediates, plastics and chemicals), textiles, retail, infotel and special economic zones.

Reliance enjoys global leadership in its businesses, being the largest polyester yarn and fibre producer in the world and among the top five to ten producers in the world in major petrochemical products.

Yet they cannot pay a minimum wage.

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