KUCHING, Nov 30: The government and banks should show appreciation and treat all bank workers and other private frontliners equally with a similar one-off payment as that given to civil servants.
The National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) in a statement today, highlighted that during the height of the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) and the numerous variations of lockdowns which followed, scores of bank workers turned up to keep banks open as they were considered part of essential services.
According to the union’s secretary-general J Solomon, in the ensuing months, these bank employees carried out their work diligently in helping to provide an essential service to the rakyat and they underwent rigorous standard operating procedures (SOPs) before, during and after work to ensure the safety of the customers and themselves.
“Despite this, several bank employees were struck by the virus in carrying out their jobs. Many others were subjected to swab tests and endured the anxiety of waiting for the results. The risk of infections from walk-in customers remains a very much real threat to the frontliners in banking sectors.
“The government has rightfully shown its appreciation to the Health Ministry frontliners by giving them a one-off payment of RM300.
“On Thursday (Nov 26), the Finance Minister (Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz) extended the remuneration to other frontliners, such as the police, army, People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) and those coming under the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma). This is the right thing to do as well,” Solomon asserted.
He opined it is not right for the government and the private sector, especially banks, to not show any sense of appreciation to other frontliners, such as bank workers, delivery people and many unsung heroes from other sectors of the economy which kept the country ticking.
The government, he highlighted, will insist that it does not get involved in matters that are solely in the domain of the private sector, but it was the government which ordered banks to remain open even if the move risked the health of bank employees.
“As such, the government should not think twice in calling out banks and other employers to give workers the due recognition they deserve in helping to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the rakyat.
“NUBE feels strongly that banks especially should not dismiss or trivialise the role of their employees in keeping branches open while much of the country was in one form of lockdown or another,” he added.
Solomon also pointed out that the banks should at the very least provide a similar one-off payment to the bank workers, where many of them are from the B40 and M40 groups.
“The union’s observed that the banks can easily afford this as they recorded more than healthy profits so far this year. It must be noted these profits were recorded while a six-month moratorium on loan repayments for individuals and businesses were in force.
“NUBE urges the government and banks to display some gratitude for bank employees who have pulled their weight without questions in playing their role during the pandemic with some form of monetary recognition, which will go a long way to show they are cared and provided for by both their employers and the government,” he added. — DayakDaily