'Fiery riot' firm unaware workers being abused
In a media statement, the firm said an investigation has been launched into the allegations, which have been widely reported in the media.
"The management is of the view that the incident (riot) was a result of miscommunication between all parties concerned and will take steps to further improve communication," it added.
Among others, it was claimed that a senior staff at the Kulai factory had pelted the private parts of the foreign workers with stones.
On Tuesday, enraged workers torched the factory building and a car belonging to a management staff.
The company also clarified that they moved 23 workers from Tebrau to Kulai after the earlier riots to “calm” the situation at Tebrau.
“Twenty three workers were temporarily separated from Tebrau factory and moved to Kulaijaya factory for the purpose of calming the situation of the workers unrest incidence that took place at a worker hostel located in Tebrau IV, Johor Bahru on 22 and 23 August 2014.”
It is believed that the riot in Tebrau last week ensued after a worker, Karka Bahadur Nirbula died of sickness after not being given medical treatment by the company.
While it acknowleged the death, the company did not address the allegations surrounding Karka's death.
It only said that there is a 24-hour clinic at the Tebrau factory, and Kulaijaya workers can go to the panel clinics without restriction.
It also said that it will now raise its compensation for workers who die on the job, by paying the remainder salary from their tenure or RM10,000, whichever higher.
JCY added that all their salary payments as well as accommodations for the workers were in compliance with the Malaysian labour law.
“JCY HDD had fully complied with Malaysian’s minimum wage requirement of RM900 per month since the first day it came into effect on 1 January 2013. As legally and normally practised by other companies in the electronic industry, JCY HDD also practices rest day that do not necessarily falls on a Sunday.”
JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd is a unit under public-listed company JCY International Bhd.
The company also cleared that any deductions made to the salary of workers were done with the approval of authorities.
“All salary deductions made by JCY HDD are with approval from relevant government authorities.”
It also acknowledged that worker Karka Bahadur Nibula had died from illness prior to the incident, but did not address claims that this was due to of access to medical aid.
It, however, said that there is a 24-hour clinic in its Tebrau factory while those at the Kulai operation can seek medical attention at panel clinics without restriction.
Not the first time JCY under fire
The company also reiterated that the damage was minimal as the fire only engulfed an area, which held “non-crucial equipment” and “consumable items”.
“There was no major damage to the main building or any of the machines within the factory.”
Meanwhile, Tenaganita programme director Glorene Fernandez revealed that this is not JCY’s first tussle with foreign workers.
“We have handled cases from JCY International before regarding their mistreatment of foreign workers.
“Previously, there was another case involving a Nepali foreign worker as well, which was brought to the industrial court but was settled off court by JCY,” Fernandez told Malaysiakini.
Fernandez added that Tenaganita has previously conducted talks with JCY workers to educate them regarding their labour laws and rights.
Separately, PSM in a statement condemned the treatment of foreign workers by JCY International.
“The management’s idea of punishing 20 workers - forcing them to play volleyball with a rock, and throwing a stone at their private parts – that sparked off angry protests by the workers is outrageous and reflects the impunity enjoyed by employers,” said PSM central committee member Rani Rasiah.
“The workers had remained compliant despite enduring all kinds of abuses and deprivation – low income, cramped living quarters with up to 45 workers sharing a shop house, beatings if they made mistakes, and being forced to walk an hour to work,” Rani added.
PSM also questioned the authorities actions regarding the case as no management staff was remanded, despite allegations of abuse.
“Who are the victims?” she quizzed.
MTUC Johor secretary K Mohanadas told Malaysiakini that workers had complained of being beaten at work, no over time, no medical care and deplorable living conditions (above).