A joint committee has suggested that companies should prepare for next year’s economic downturn by reducing workers’ overtime, cutting working hours, laying off staff temporarily and slashing workers’ pay packets.
I have some suggestions of my own:
- Sell off the flashy company cars meant for top management; use fuel-efficient vehicles or the bas kilang.
- No more meal allowances, entertainment allowances, housing allowances, meeting allowances, travel allowances and what-have-you for top management.
- Slash bonuses and salaries of top management. In some companies, the annual bonus of a top executive can be several times the annual wages of a production operator. If companies reward their top management with fat bonuses and hefty salary increments when the company is doing well, they should slash these when times are bad.
If a failed company says it cannot pay adequate retrenchment compensation to its workers, check its accounts to see how much it has in assets. In the case of a company in Prai which recently ceased operations, its workers received paltry compensation. But a check with the company’s latest Annual Report revealed that although the firm had poor liquidity (RM12.8 million in net current liabilities), its net assets amounted to RM50 million.
Meanwhile, the government should immediately start a national retrenchment fund with mandatory contributions from employers (RM1 per worker every month) and employees (RM1/monthly).
With all this talk of gloom, somehow the news of the Perak state government buying 16 new Camrys for its exco members at a cost of RM2.7 million does not seem right. Surely they can make do with their existing cars during these difficult times. What about setting an example and using public transport? If the public transport is poor, do something about it!