KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Manaf Mansor endured a difficult Ramadan and Hari Raya last year. This year, it looks just as bleak.
The father of four fell on hard times after the bread company he was working with for 14 years decided he was among those who would be retrenched. Worse yet, he did not receive any compensation.
Already 45 years old, Manaf is finding it tough to secure a permanent job now. Luckily, his wife works as a clerk in a local bank.
“So I take care of my children while she is away at work,” Manaf told FMT, adding that he earns some income as an Uber driver “from time to time”.
Manaf was among the former employees of High-5 who were retrenched in June last year, exactly two weeks before Hari Raya. They were given 24 hours’ notice.
It was previously reported that High-5 did not contribute to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) accounts of some workers for eight to 12 months.
Recently, the High-5 Worker’s Action Committee met with the appointed liquidator of the company to discuss their demand for compensation and unsettled wages.
Another former High-5 worker, Mohd Dhani Yusoff, 45, has had to sell his house in Subang in order to make ends meet. He has seven children.
“No company would want to hire people around my age any more, especially when it comes to this limited line of work,” said Dhani, who used to be a supervisor at the company.
A Sabahan, who wanted to be known only as Rosman, has been more fortunate. He has landed a job at another company. However, it doesn’t pay enough; so he works at the company in the daytime and sells pre-loved shoes at night markets.
“I have to do this to support my family,” said the 44-year-old.
He alleged that High-5 fed lies to its workers before serving them with termination notices. He said the company told them the factory was to be re-located.
“We did not suspect anything until we were given the termination notices.”
Noryati Bapujee, 23, said it took her a few months to get a new job.
The topic of Ramadan and Aidilfitri saddens her as she used to help her parents supplement the family income.
“I am also supporting my siblings who are still studying,” she said. “It is heartbreaking to think that this Aidilfitri, I will not be able to buy them new Raya clothes.”
Noryati worked for High-5 for three years before losing her job.
The workers lodged a report with the Labour Office in June.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general A Sivarajan, who was at the meeting with the liquidator, has asked the human resources ministry to look into the former workers’ plight.
“When the factory shut down, all assets were liquidated to pay the creditors,” he said. “In this case, the workers were cheated. So we asked the ministry to look into this matter.” -FMT