Today workers are in tripartite negotiation with employer and labour department . We hope they can reach agreement soon and workers will be entitling to their rights such as salary, levy deduction and other compensations.
Myanmar workers laid off without valid notice
Submitted by pekwan on Monday, March 15th, 2010
Monday, March 15th, 2010 12:12:00
ALL¬ROUND MISERY: Myanmar workers live in shabby conditions — Pic: HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
KUALA LUMPUR: In Myanmar, US$850 (about RM2,900) is enough to sustain a person comfortably for a year, and that's what Zar Ni Swe from Yangon paid to an agent to get a job as a waitress in a restaurant in Malaysia.
But on Feb 15, the second day of the Chinese New Year, Ni Swe, along with 25 other Myanmar waiters and waitresses at Jogoya Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, were given a week's notice that their services were no longer required.
This heart-breaking news was conveyed to them in a memo which gave no reason nor was it signed.
On top of that, the memo had more bad news — the first part dealt with Myanmar waiters who had savings, and the second part for those who didn't have money.
In the case of Ni Swe, she was asked to pay a RM450 levy to the restaurant, also a month's salary of RM150 as compensation for her "previous mistakes" (no matter whether she was at fault or not) and also immigration costs of RM150.
Those with no savings were told to work for another company until they paid their dues to get their passports back.
Ni Swe, who worked for almost four years, had the courage to ask the restaurant management why she and her countrymen and women were given a week's notice when it should have been a three months'. No satisfactory answer was given.
Allegedly too, the restaurant had not paid their February salary. What followed were frantic attempts to seek help from their agents in Myanmar ("We cannot help") and Malaysia ("We cannot help too"), embassy of Myanmar ("Call your agents"), the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, or Suhakam ("Wait for labour office to investigate"), police ("Call your agents") and the Federal Territory Department of Labour ("Give us some time to investigate").
A closer look at the hostel where Ni Swe and another 69 Myanmars were staying.
The hostel is a four-storey building at Jalan Changkat Thamby Dollah. The restaurant and storeroom are on the first floor, the male workers live on the second floor and the females live on the third floor.