Petition: Reinstate YTL cement workers in Malaysia
The Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) calls on trade union affiliates, partners and allies worldwide to sign a petition supporting the reinstatement of 62 cement workers who were unjustly retrenched at the YTL-acquired Rawang Cement Factory in Malaysia.
YTL Malayan Cement Berhad, a subsidiary of YTL Corporation Berhad, reportedly embarked on a modernisation plan that closed the Rawang plant for three years and caused the retrenchment of 62 workers. This was after the Rawang factory, Malaysia’s oldest cement plant, was acquired in 2019 by YTL from Lafarge, which ran it, together with its other operations in Kantha and Langkawi, since 2001.
The workers, who are members of the Cement Industry Employees Union (CIEU), protested the retrenchment which was callously implemented in July 2020; right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a response, the union, supported by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), filed several legal cases against YTL. It accused the company of breaching several provisions of the Industrial Relations Act of 1967 and the Employment Act of 1955 for failing to conduct thorough consultations with the workers and resorting to retrenchment tantamount to union-busting.
The union said that the retrenchment of the 62 workers was cruel and unjust. With many of the dismissed workers aged 45 and up, CIEU said that finding alternative jobs, especially during the pandemic, is extremely challenging.
At the moment, YTL refuses to yield to the union’s demand to reinstate the said workers upon the resumption of its business operations.
The Malaysian cement workers need our help. Join BWI and LabourStart in building international support for their cause and to ramp up pressure for YTL to give in to their legitimate demands.
ACT NOW and Sign hereunder
Tan Sri Francis Yeoh/Theresa Wong,
YTL Chairman/YTL HR Director,
I have been informed that 62 workers from the Cement Industry Employees Union (CIEU), who are nearing their age of retirement were unfairly retrenched from the recently purchased YTL Cement Berhad Plant in Rawang.
The workers were consistently denied the opportunity to unionize under the previous ownership of the plant, by Lafarge Cement, and since YTL bought it over, not much has changed in terms of workers welfare.
YTL proceeded with modernization plans for the plant, retrenching these workers, without transparent and genuine consultation with the union. In August of 2019, YTL assured them that despite the 3-year long modernization plans, these workers would still have their jobs once the factory was back in operation.
A few months later in November, YTL dropped a bomb on 62 workers, informing them that they will be retrenched and proceeded with a take-it-or-leave-it offer of relocating them to ancillary plants located in different states in Malaysia. Moreover, when the Malaysian Trade Union Congress sought to mitigate this case on behalf of CIEU, Ms Theresa Wong outright refused to meet with all union officials and representatives.
This is a blatant form of disregard for social justice, workers' rights and constitutes an outright union busting. I would like to urge you to take the necessary steps to reinstate all retrenched workers and offer them compensation for wages lost since the plant was closed in 2019 up until its future re-opening.