Andrew Lo

Or get out of the business if you can’t pay minimum wage: MTUC

KUCHING: Ceasing to provide accommodation and meals for workers at coffeeshops and restaurants is a breach of their contract, said Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo.

He said this after Kuching Coffeeshop and Restaurant Owners Association announced that its members would stop these benefits for their workers effective next year, following an increase in monthly minimum wage to RM1,200.

Andrew Lo

“Those businesses that cannot afford to pay the minimum wage have no business to be in business. They should close shop,” Lo, who is also Sarawak Bank Employees Union (SBEU) chief executive officer, said in a statement yesterday.

He said that the association’s statement calling on other shops to also stop the benefits was against the Competition Act 2010.

Lo described the association’s move as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘arrogant’.

“The Kuching Coffeeshop and Restaurant Owners Association is behaving like a cartel and (this is a) monopoly,” he said while cautioning local coffeeshop and restaurant operators against forcing workers to go on strike.

He urged workers whose accommodation and meals had been stopped to file claims for constructive dismissal.

The association’s chairman, Teo Giap Liew, regarded the coffeeshop and restaurant industry as being different from other industries as operators not only have to adhere to the minimum wage policy, they also have to provide accommodation and three meals a day for their employees.