The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has described the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) offered by Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Berhad to 800 of its 1,500 employees as an insincere, dishonest and suspicious move.

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has described the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) offered by Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Berhad to 800 of its 1,500 employees as an insincere, dishonest and suspicious move.

In a statement here today, NUJ said the VSS offer was made in a hurry without consulting the union.

“We were only informed about the VSS exercise an hour before it was announced to all (Utusan Melayu) employees yesterday.

“The VSS has less benefits than the last option scheme namely on retrenchment as stated in our joint agreement,” it said, stressing that as the first option scheme, the offer should have been better.

As such, NUJ opined that it would be better for its members to wait for the retrenchment rather than accept the VSS.

The union also questioned the company’s ability to pay the VSS as they promised one month salary X years of service without any existence funds.

“This means that Utusan does not have the money and still needs to look for it when offering it (the VSS) without clearly showing the convincing evidence from where they can obtain it.

“Instead of a lump sum, the payments will be made via monthly installments which will take a year to complete. In principle, it does not follow the usual VSS practice and poses a huge risk to our members,” it said.

NUJ also urged UMNO, as the biggest shareholder of the company, to review the decision made by Utusan’s executive chairman Datuk Aziz Sheikh Fadzir and sell its shares in the company if the party was unable to champion the cause of the employees.

“What’s the use of UMNO talking about championing the cause of Malays all this while if the party can’t even protect the Malay employees at its own company,” it said. - Bernama