Sabah union signs wage agreement with Focus Lumber

(The signing of the agreement between Focus Lumber representatives and STIEU President Martin Kandong and General-Secretary Engrit Liaw, as witnessed by officials of Keningau’s Labour Department.)

The Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU) reached an agreement with Focus Lumber to settle the latter’s salary obligations to twenty of its (20) workers whose wages it arbitrarily cut by 50 percent during Malaysia’s enforcement of a hard COVID-19 lockdown.  

STIEU President Martin Kandong said that a wage settlement was signed by the union with the company on 10 March at the Keningau, Sabah Labour Department, which was witnessed by labour department officials. 

“There were some initial setbacks during the start of the negotiations, but we are glad that there was real cooperation between the parties to settle the issue outside of court. The involved workers worked extremely hard and deserve every cent owed to them. It is good to see an agreement that favours them,” STIEU General Secretary Engrit Liaw said.  

The union said that Focus Lumber, citing business slowdown as a result of COVID-19,  cut the salaries of its workers by half. STIEU said that it was done without prior negotiations with the workers and thereby illegal as stated in Section 113 of the Sabah Labour Ordinance Act.

Focus Lumber is a manufacturer and seller of plywood, veneer and laminated veneer lumber.