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8:05pm 02/06/2022
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Country fully reopened but salaries still not restored to pre-pandemic levels

PETALING JAYA: During the coronavirus pandemic, many local workers were required by their employers to take a pay cut in order to stay at work, but after the SOPs have been relaxed and all economic sectors allowed to operate at full capacity from May 15, readers have complained to Sin Chew Daily that they still have not had their pre pandemic salaries restored.

A female reader complained that her husband, who is in the construction industry, was required to take a 30% pay cut during the first MCO, but his salary is still not yet restored to pre-pandemic levels after two years.

Meanwhile, another reader revealed that hundreds of employees in his company had been taking 15-35% pay cuts since mid-2021.

“With the inflation and poor economic outlook, many are worried they will lose their jobs if they voice up to the boss. We really don’t know what to do.”

‘Totally not permitted’

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) acting president Mohd Effendy Abdul Ghani urged employees who have not had their salaries fully restored to lodge their complaints with MTUC or the human resources ministry.

“This is totally not permitted. MTUC is strongly against the action of such employers.”

He asserted that employers were not allowed to cut the salaries of their employees even during the lockdown, and definitely not when all economic sectors are now allowed to operate at full capacity.

He also said MTUC had received approximately 30,000 complaints about pay cuts between March and December 2020, adding that after MTUC reflected the problem to the government and the government introduced the wage subsidy program, it no longer received any more complaint from employees.

MTUC acting president Mohd Effendy (L) and ACCCIM treasurer-general Koong Lin Loong.

‘Win-win approach to solve the problem’

The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) treasurer-general Koong Lin Loong told Sin Chew Daily from what he knew, employees in some sectors such as travel agencies and construction industry might still be subjected to pay cuts at this moment.

Even though the economy is fully open now, certain companies that sustain huge expenses such as those in the construction industry or building material manufacturers may still not be able to support their expenses.

Koong suggested that employers adopt a win-win approach in addressing such problem.

He reminded employers that they were not allowed to deliberately or unilaterally cut their employees’ salaries.

“They can only do so if mutually agreed.

“If they have restored their sales, they should gradually reinstate their employees’ pre-pandemic salaries. This will not only help retain the workers but also restore their confidence in the company.”

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