Distribute profits more evenly among workers, says bank union


THE National Union of Bank Employees said top executives are being paid too much and called for fair pay distribution in the banking sector.

Its general secretary J Solomon said some banks were able to reward employees, as seen in the higher remuneration for top executives for 2020, because they remained resilient during the pandemic and managed to make good profits.

Reacting to The Malaysian Reserve’s (TMR) report on Tuesday, Solomon said banks were able to make more money because of the huge increase in online banking due to Covid 19 restrictions, resulting in some CEOs earning more than 10% pay raises.

He said, however, other bank employees should also be recognised for reward because all bank employees showed dedication during the difficult time last year.

“We urge employers in the banking sector to ensure that their profits will translate into better remuneration for their employees as well, and not limited to bigger pay packets for CEOs and board of directors.

“If the CEOs have an average of the top 20%, bottom 40% and middle 40% employees should have at least a minimum of 20% salary adjustment for them to sustain during this pandemic crisis.

“Unlike other sectors, banks have been very resilient and continue to do well despite the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope banks will share the good returns they have been earning with their employees fairly and equitably, and not use the pandemic as an excuse to shortchange the workers,” he told TMR yesterday.

He said it should not be disputed that banks were able to register healthy profits and good returns due to the dedication and commitment of their workforce.

Bank employees are also part of Malaysia’s frontliners, he said, as they have risked health to ensure financial institutions remained open to provide services to the public following various forms of lockdowns that were imposed last year.

“The staff made tremendous sacrifices and were forced to make adjustments, be it working under tight standard operating procedures in the office or familiarising themselves with the many challenges and protocols of working from home.

“The closure of schools, which forced students to stay home for online classes, also posed many challenges to bank employees in looking after their children and working from home simultaneously,” he said.

Therefore, he hoped for the good returns earned by the banks in the financial year 2020 (FY20) and before would be shared between the top management and employees during this challenging period.

TMR had previously reported that top bankers gained a rise in their pay last year despite most banks reporting lower earnings.

At least three CEOs received pay rises of over 10% in FY20 as their banks reported lower overheads after various cost-cutting measures, according to publicly available records.

Read our previous report here

UPDATED: Banks’ top execs see higher pay in FY20