A heap of Dung, whether in hell or heaven smells the same; such is the attitude and behaviour of the capitalist class world over.
Mukhesh Ambani of Reliance Group, who has always been in news for his obscene wealth and extravagance is spreading the stink of anti-labour policies, this time in Malaysia. The RECRON Malaysia a subsidiary of Indian MNC Reliance Group is starving the workers with poverty wages and refuses to pay the Minimum Wage stipulated by the law in Malaysia.
New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India)’s counter part in Malaysia has intervened in the situation to organise the fight back. The 4000 and odd workers from Bangladesh, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Nepal working in this factory have appealed for support from Trade Unions and progressive organisation internationally to get justice.
The New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) appeals on behalf of these fighting workers to the Trade Unions in India and workers in general to send messages of support to build pressure on the Reliance management to comply with the Minimum Wage laws of the country. We are attaching the background information to the dispute for your perusal and necessary solidarity action.
Textile Migrant workers in Malaysia on strike to demand promised implementation of minimum wage
India’s multi-billionaire the Ambanis textile company are found exploiting thousands of foreign workers in Malaysia.
For the past 6 days, more than 4000 migrant workers of Recron Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. ( largest integrated polyester and textile company in the world) are on an indefinite strike demanding a pay rise that would match the newly government introduced minimum wage.
The majority of the migrant workers are mainly from Bangladesh and Vietnam. There are also some workers from Nepal and Sri Lanka. They have been paid a meager RM 208 (USD 67) a month for 26 days of 8 hour work. The workers receive a maximum of RM 700 (USD 224) a month including overtime allowances if they work for 12 hours a day for 30 days a month. With this kind of salary, it is difficult to make ends meet in Malaysia alone, but a bulk of this workers salary is dedicated to their families, bills and debts in their home country. The workers have been kept in this condition for the past 6 years. Local Malaysian workers are paid RM 650 (USD 210) a month as basic for the exact same job and have the opportunity to earn triple of what a foreign worker is getting.
Recently, the Malaysian government has implemented a minimum wage policy of RM 900 (USD 290) to all workers in Malaysia starting effectively on 1st of January 2013. However, this policy has been extremely unpopular among companies such as Recron Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. who are exploiting workers with extreme low wages. Foreign workers are more easily exploited due to the absence of a representation in a form of organization and the division created by the employer between foreign workers and local workers.
Since January 2013, Recron local and foreign workers began to demand for a pay rise in accordance to the newly introduced minimum wage law but the management have brushed off their demands and continued with their normal pay scheme. As the workers grew impatient, the management tried different methods to discourage the workers such as intimidation and giving empty promises about the implementation of minimum wages. The workers waited patiently for 2 months and are yet to receive any pay rise as promised and they decided to take action by themselves. Last week the management issued a memo that announced that they would implement minimum wage for local workers in few weeks but without clear indication how this will be implemented. Meanwhile for foreign workers, the management said they are negotiating with the government to not follow the policy.
This has angered the migrant workers. On 1st March 2013, all the foreign workers of Recron Sdn. Bhd. decided to go on an indefinite strike until their demand to receive the agreed minimum wage is met by the management.
Recron Malaysia is a part of the USD 34.7 billion revenue worth Reliance Group, a Fortune Global 500 Corporation and the largest Polyester producer of the world. Recron Malaysia alone is generating annual sales turnaround of USD 1 billion every year. The owners of this establishment, the Ambani family is one of the richest families in the world and owns the largest company in India. Yet, their workers are left in a completely deplorable condition and continue to cheat their way out of their unlawful actions. Recron Malaysia is not only violating employees’ rights but also violating the law.
One of the workers voiced out his frustrations “ the yarn that we produce was RM 2.50 (USD 0.80) a kilogram 5 years ago, now it is RM 7.50 (USD 2.40), their profit has gone up 3 times but our salary have not increased a single cent”. It is clear that the foreign workers could not live everyday life with such a small salary and they have no other venue to seek help from. Both their embassies and Malaysian Labour Department have washed their hands regarding this matter and left the workers on their own. The government of Malaysia and the management of Recron are most probably working hand in hand in plotting a way out of this crisis. The foreign workers of Recron had no other choice but to go on a strike and still standing strong after 6 days of strike. Every day at 12.30 pm they storm the nearby field holding signs of demand for a pay rise.
The management of Recron has so far refused the demands and is adamantly trying to find a way out of this mess. They are most likely thinking of an option to either replace these workers or somehow force them to agree with a mediocre pay rise.
The thousands of foreign workers are in a desperate need of support and solidarity against the monstrous Reliance Group and its international capitalist friends. These workers have no one else but themselves to rely on in the fight against this international capitalist who are exploiting them on a daily basis for years.
We urge the trade unions and workers organization to offer solidarity with the Recron foreign workers by putting pressure on this company to comply with the workers demand as follow:
1) Equal pay to all. Minimum wage for all the local workers and migrant workers
2) Stop any harassment and intimidation on migrant workers. Respect their rights.
Send the protest letter to :
1) Human resource ministry
Level 6-9, Block D3, Complex D,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
Contact Person : Mr. Ridzuan
Tel: 60388865000 or 60388865214
Level 9, Wisma Goldhill,
67 Jalan Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel : 603-20316000 / 603-7992855
Faks : 603-20315000