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Malaysia: Workers claim discrimination against union leaders at Infineon's assembly factory; company responds

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Company response
9 March 2017

Response by Infineon to NGO rejoinder

Author: Infineon

We would like to point out that it was Mr Zulfadlee who chose to commence a complaint of wrongful termination with the Department of Industrial Relations (“IR Department”), yet he and his supporters are now attempting to try this matter in the court of public opinion. He or his supporters have made repeated calls and demands on Infineon, from numerous quarters including your organisation, for his reinstatement, without regard to the administrative/judicial proceedings with the IR Department. 

Since the Industrial Relations Act of 1967 sets out the mechanism for administration of justice in industrial relations disputes in Malaysia, and such mechanism provides a recourse to the Industrial Courts, we believe that the administrative/judicial proceedings commenced with the IR Department are the appropriate forum for this matter to be adjudicated. 

Regarding your email dated 6th March, while we refute Good Electronics’/Charles Hector’s allegations and misinterpretations in multiple respects, we regret that we are unable to respond in detail to the allegations made in the document you provided to us. We believe that any adequate response by Infineon to the specific claims could be interpreted as being prejudicial to or an interference with the proper administration of justice (being the administrative/judicial proceedings commenced by Mr Zulfadlee), which could open us to contempt of court proceedings.

NGO rejoinder
7 March 2017

Rejoinder by Charles Hector, Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud, Mohd Roszeli bin Majid, Pranom Somwong via Good Electronics with the support of 54 organisations, trade unions and groups

Author: Charles Hector, Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud, Mohd Roszeli bin Majid, Pranom Somwong via Good Electronics with the support of 54 organisations, trade unions and groups

...The matter has not yet referred to the courts at this time. What is upcoming are attempts at conciliation. It is our hope that this matter can be speedily resolved, and justice will prevail. Even, if and when the matter reaches the courts, there is always the possibility to resolve this matter without waiting for the end of the court processes, which in Malaysia takes a very long time. Justice delayed is justice denied. 2 -  After further investigations of the available evidence(including documentary evidence), we believe that your action in dismissing the said Union leader maybe by reason of you not having the benefit of all the available facts of the case, and the applicable law. 3 – Briefly, we want to highlight the following few points:- a)      Charged with a misconduct, i.e. “act of malingering” – which is not even in the list of INFINEON’s list of misconducts that covers both expressed and implied breaches of contract. b)      The main element that need to shown to justify an act of malingering is that the employee had feigned illness for the purposes of avoiding work. This was not even clear in the charge. Attending a union activity whilst on sick leave only raises grounds for suspicion that there may be an ‘act of malingering’ – it certainly is not proof that the misconduct was committed....

Download the full document here

Company response
27 February 2017

Response by Infineon

Author: Infineon

...Infineon gave notice to an employee at the Malacca production site, who has been president of a local trade union since 2005. Reason for the dismissal was a case of misconduct by that employee in autumn 2016. The employee did admit his misconduct towards the company and the case is well documented. Infineon does not want to go into more details until the administrative/judicial process brought by the employee is completed. We can assure you that Infineon did not make that decision easily and has carried out an in-depth examination of the case. Considering compliance guidelines and in accordance with Malaysian labour laws the local management has hereby concluded that this form of misconduct cannot be tolerated. Also Infineon has taken decisions and dismissed employees for clear cases of misconduct – in compliance with the common application of Malaysian law. Infineon also investigated 6 other union leaders for misconduct and discovered that they acted contrary to Malaysia’s Industrial Relations Act and contrary to the existing Collective Agreement between the union and Infineon Malaysia. Therefore, the disciplinary action against them was justified by law. It was not done as an act of union busting, nor in violation of any of Infineon’s internal policies or the employees’ freedom of association...

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Article
31 January 2017

INFINEON must stop union busting and discrimination against union leaders

Author: Charles Hector, Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud, Mohd Roszeli bin Majid, Pranom Somwong via Good Electronics with the support of 54 organisations, trade unions and groups

We, the 55 undersigned organisations and trade union are shocked to hear about the wrongful termination of Muhammad Zulfadlee Thye Bin Abdullah, the President of the Infineon Technologies Malaysia Workers Union (Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Infineon Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd) at INFINEON in Malacca, which is said to be the largest assembly of INFINEON with a workforce of about 8000 people. Zulfadlee, an employee since 1998, has been the President of the Union since 2005...On 13/12/2016, Zulfadlee was terminated on the grounds that he ‘committed the act of malingering’, with reference to a sick leave obtained on 18/10/2016 from a doctor, Dr Aw Cheng Yew  of  Kllnlk Melaka, which is a panel clinic of the Employer. The basis of the allegation seems to be because he was present at an activity of the Selangor Division of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC)  in Putrajaya on the same date when he was on sick leave.  As such, one may assume that maybe the charge was simply pretending to be sick (or faking illness) for the purpose of avoiding work or duty...

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