STIEU and Sabah wood factory sign wage settlement agreement
After months of pursuing payment of appropriate wages to workers at the KK Assan Wood Factory, the Sabah Timber Industry Union (STIEU) has finally signed a settlement agreement with the company on 1 October witnessed by officials of the Sabah Labour Department in Kota Marudu.
“Workers should fully receive wages owed to them, no matter their union status. We are glad that this case has been dealt with without having to go to court, setting a precedent on how similar cases involving workers’ wages should be addressed in the future”, says STIEU General-Secretary Engrit Liaw.
STIEU said that during the COVID-19 lockdown, the wages of its members at KK Assan were cut without giving them prior notice. At the same time, members of the company-led union were notified and called to work, sidelining salary-deprived STIEU members.
The signing of the agreement as witnessed by HR representatives of KK Assan Sdn Bhd, STIEU President Martin Kandong, STIEU Vice-President Selfanus, STIEU General Secretary, Engrit Liaw and officers of the Kota Marudu Labour Department.
STIEU said that the company has used the pandemic as an excuse to deny its workers appropriate wages. However, STIEU President Martin Andong argued that it is inexcusable to slash workers’ salaries in the middle of a global health crisis.
“We understand that similar to many other companies, the factory was financially-hit by COVID-19. However, workers’ welfare must also be taken into account,” Andong said.
“These workers have families to feed and a living to make. To deny these workers of their wages is completely unjustified and a violation of Sabah’s labour law,” Andong stressed.