Kamiri Estate workers
Retrenched 56 rubber tappers who had worked for 15 to 35 years
in Kamiri Estate, Sg Siput (U) were retrenched in December 1999
as Guthrie had decided to replant with Oil Palm.
lodge 19 Police Reports
These workers were offered the meagre retrenchment benefits as
specified in the 1955 Employment Act - 20 days wages per year of
work. This works out to about RM 8,500 for a worker who has worked
25 years. They were also asked to vacate their estate quarters.
The retrenched workers have written numerous letters to Guthrie asking
for better terms of compensation including alternative housing. However
Guthrie has steadfastly refused to meet its former workers to discuss
Six weeks ago the Guthrie manager for Kamiri Estate gave orders that the
drains in the vicinity of the houses of the retrenched workers should
not be cleaned; nor the grass around their houses cut; or rubbish
collected; and that their septic tanks allowed to remain in disrepair.
This has led to fertile breeding grounds for both flies and mosquitos.
Snakes also have been sighted around the living quarters.
The workers have protested this underhand tactic through letters to the
Kamiri Management, Guthrie Head Office, the Labour Department of Kuala
Kangsar, as well as to the State Health Department.
However despite visits of the latter two agencies, the Guthrie Manager
remains recalcitrant, and the workers and their families are exposed to
the danger of snake bites, dengue and dysentry as well as to the foul odour
of the stagnant drains, uncollected rubbish and overflowing septic tanks.
The Kamiri Estate workers are very frustrated and disappointed that
despite being empowered by very explicit provisions in the Minimum
Standards of Housing Act, the Labour and Health Departments are
unwilling to use their powers to compel Guthrie to act responsibly.
Over the past 3 weeks the workers have lodged 19 police reports against the
management of Kamiri Estate for using these pressure tactics in an
attempt to evict them from their quarters.
Last week the ex-workers of Kamiri Estate planted around 30 placards
protesting the Manager’s irresponsible behaviour, at the sides of both
entrances to the estate.
Guthrie highly irresponsible!
One would expect Guthrie, the largest plantation company in Malaysia, to
treat its former workers (who have brought in millions of dollars of
profits over the past 20 years) with a little more decency.
Incidently this highlights quite vividly the extent to which large
corporations are prepared to go for the extra dollar (and the reason
why we need stronger laws and more efficient enforcement to keep these
corporations in line!)
However if Guthrie believes that they can bully their ex-workers and
force them to vacate their quarters they are in for a big surprise.
WORKERS UNITED CAN NEVER BE DEFEATED!!
Released by PSM Sg. Siput Branch