Bank employees to get salary hike as NUBE concludes collective agreement

by HABHAJAN SINGH

SOME 17,000 clerical staff at commercial banks in Peninsular Malaysia are set to get a salary hike with the conclusion of their collective agreement (CA) after some 16 months of active negotiations.

They will also receive salary arrears under the agreement covering the period between 2021 and 2023.

It is understood that the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) and the Malayan Commercial Banks’ Association (MCBA) have reached a deal, with the official signing ceremony scheduled for next week.

“It’s a good deal,” one banking industry source told The Malaysian Reserve, but declined to divulge details of the exact quantum of salary increase.

When contacted, NUBE secretary general J Solomon declined to comment. NUBE has scheduled an online meeting entitled NUBE Roadshow — Details’ for the 19th MCBA/NUBE CA update, according to details on its website.

In an update to members on April 2, NUBE stated: “We must place on record that thus far the negotiations have proceeded cordially between MCBA and NUBE Negotiation Teams, with the highest level of mutual respect, while NUBE has been realistic in the justifying our proposals.”

In the CA sealed in January 2019, banking employees received a salary adjustment of 12% to 16%, an additional annual increment for maximum salary, cost of living adjustment (COLA) payment of RM600, housing loan at 0% interest rate for the first RM100,000, religious leave for non-Muslims with more than 10 years of service and an extension of maternity leave additional for three months at half paid.

In the latest CA, aside from the salary hike, the unionised banking clerical and non-clerical employees will also stand to benefit from a number of new additions to the agreement, including a right to personal information.

Apparently, with banks going paperless, the employees faced difficulty getting access to certain documents. The new clause will pave the way for them to request those documents.

At the same time, the new CA will also have a clause on social dialogue, requiring the banks to discuss with union representatives on initiatives that would impact their members.

“This CA expires at the end of the year. Discussions for the next agreement should be easier as this agreement is well-padded,” said the industry source.

NUBE, the nation’s third-largest union, is now a much smaller outfit on the membership front compared to its early days. From a membership of 60,000 strong three decades ago, it shrank to about 40,000 in the early 1990s, and now down to about 17,000 members.

“We are shrinking. Many clerical positions have been abolished due to advancement of technology,” said a state union member.

MCBA is led by Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) group chief human capital officer Datuk Nora Abd Manaf as its president, with Maybank’s group industrial relations risk and governance head Datuk Brian Jit Singh as the alternate president.