Malasia - HSBC violates collective agreement provisions

Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation Malaysia is legally bound by collective agreements with the MTUC-affiliated bank federation, NUBE, and the sectoral agreement with the Malayan

Commercial Banks Association (MCBA) to consult the trade union on employment matters, including outsourcing.

A new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was signed in 2019 after a lapse of three years as a result of the bank’s procrastination and tactics to dilute several benefits provided for in the sectoral agreement. The company further refused to honour the ONE HSBC Outsourcing and Restructuring Agreement signed with NUBE in 2010; the Agreement lays out the consultation procedure pertaining to the sectoral agreement on outsourcing and retrenchment matters.

The Employment Act 1955 mandates that the employer submit a retrenchment notification form 30 days in advance of implementing the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS). The Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony between the Ministry of Human Resources, the Malaysian Council of Employers’ Organisations and the MTUC provides for consultation with the trade union before making retrenchment decisions. The bank has ignored these legal obligations.

In a bid to promote the VSS, more than 500 customer service bankers were retrenched while the jobs were later found by NUBE to have been outsourced to Malaysian vendors owned by HSBC in the UK as well as service providers in India and Sri Lanka.

On 21 October 2019, the Industrial Court, based on a procedural point that the ONE HSBC Agreement had not been registered, turned down NUBE’s request for an injunction order to stop the implementation of VSS, which the union claimed violated the Agreement. Since the union picket staged in 2018, cases of anti-union dismissals of union leaders and shop stewards have been pending. Nineteen members have received warning letters threatening them against joining union activities. The company has been refusing to attend mediation meetings to resolve the issues.

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