Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
BY ALLISON LAI
KUALA LANGAT: The management of Megasteel Sdn Bhd has refuted claims that it terminated employees without proper notice, saying several meetings were held with the workers.
In a statement Monday, Megasteel said it organised several town hall sessions with employees to brief and engage them on the business challenges and unavoidable decision to lay off and retrench workers.
“We are also providing support and training for the employees to seek alternate employment.
“Megasteel also sought the assistance of the Labour Department and other companies for job placement of its employees,” it said.
Megasteel said it also noted the discouraging job market, with other industries also affected by poor sales and low production levels.
“We have and will continue to engage with all stakeholders and the relevant authorities to try and address the unavoidable issue of layoffs and retrenchment considering the present difficult business environment,” it said.
Megasteel also said that it is in constant consultations with the authorities, such as the Labour Department, the Industrial Relations Department and the Metal Industry Employees Union (MIEU), to seek an amicable solution to the workers’ plight and concerns.
It noted that local steel manufacturers have been badly affected by rampant imports at dumped prices in the past several years.
“This has resulted in low orders and low capacity utilisation, with the major steel mills incurring heavy losses of more than RM2bil in 2014 and bank borrowings in excess of RM12bil.
“Many steel manufacturers have closed down and the rest, including Megasteel, are running their operations intermittently, leading to many employees being laid off or retrenched.”
Megasteel said it has provided information on the layoffs and retrenchment to the International Trade and Industry Ministry and Mida as requested, with the Government aware of the developments affecting the steel industry.
It said that the company and steel associations had requested the authorities to act against excessive imports and save the local industry, which employs some 150,000 workers, many of whom are highly skilled and experienced.
“The local steel industry have made numerous presentations to the authorities to act against foreign manufacturers dumping state-subsidised steel products.
”Regrettably, Megasteel’s submission for safeguard petition was terminated by the Government and the anti-dumping duties imposed were not effective in curbing dumping.
”We urge the Government to assist the local steel industry and the employees whose jobs are at stake, by taking the necessary and urgent actions to curb dumping and dubious imports of steel products,” it added.
Source: The Star Online
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