Thenmoli, our organiser for Persatuan Sahabat Wanita is interacting with the workers in this session.
Workers Earning Below Poverty Line
The workers who came for this training work for an electronic subcontracting company. The main Japanese company subcontracted one of their processes to this company in order to save costs. The workers are paid below the poverty line that is below RM720 per month. In order to meet their expenses they work overtime almost all the time. In a day they can work upto 12 - 14 hours!! All of them live nearby thus saving on transport costs, most of them cycle or ride a motorcycle to work.
The workers don't have a union. They didn't even have an appointment letter when they started work. After trainings and interactions with Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, they asked their boss for a letter of appointment ... but they were given an English letter of appointment - none of them understood English! They are feisty lot ... they went back to their boss to ask him for a Malay letter of appointment. Their boss now is abit scared of their united front and have given them a RM30 rise. Some of them commented "Such miserly raise ... can't even buy a nice dinner for my family!"
We are working with the leaders to plan another training on production mapping - a strategy they could use to bargain for better wages.