Workers’ motivation: Employees attending to their daily tasks at the Lone Pine Hotel in Batu Feringghi, Penang.
GEORGE TOWN: The current 10% service charge imposed by hotels should stay because it tops up the low salary of the majority of the employees.
A National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers of Peninsular Malaysia official, who declined to be named, said some hotel workers only got RM350 a month.
“Imagine this is happening to hotel employees in the Klang Valley. The service charge payout means a lot to them. They depend largely on the payout for a living,” he said yesterday.
The union has 11,000 members from 130 hotels nationwide. The service charge is collected by hotels and has to be distributed to employees in accordance with the Service Charge Point allocation under their Collective Agreement (CA), after a 10% deduction for administrative purposes.
The clause in the CA.
The official said the service charge payout offers a fair distribution among eligible union members compared to the tipping policy.
“Tipping only benefits the frontliners like waiters, waitresses and bellboys.
“What about those who work behind the scene, like the kitchen and housekeeping staff?”
He said the point value ranged between RM90 and RM150 for hotels located in smaller towns, while five-star and international hotels offer between RM600 and RM800.
“It also depends on the years of service and position one holds in the hotels.
“For example, a hotel restaurant captain can earn up to three points while a waiter will start with a point.
“Each point value also depends on the size and business volume of the hotels,” he added.
Lone Pine Hotel Employees Union Committee chairman Mohd Pisul Hussein, 36, hopes the service charge will stay as it serves as a motivation to the workers.
He said the 104 employees of the union could get an average of RM500 monthly.
“We are always in great spirits whenever we get the payout.
“The service charge payout reminds us to be on our toes all the time. Customers will return to us if our service is up to the mark,” he said before showing the CA between employers and staff that allows the hotel to impose the 10% service charge.
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysian Trade Unions Congress secretary-general N. Gopal Krishnam said anyone working in a hotel was entitled to the point system, whether through a CA or by way of an appointment letter.
Even foreign workers are entitled to a cut, he said, adding that the point system ranged from one to four with five points being the maximum.