Friday, March 13, 2009

Mini Budget 2009, - Reactions

@ snapshots

There is a hew and cry by a certain group of restaurant operators, on the increase in Levy for Foreign workers as the operators say they cannot find locals to work in the industry. The Star reports that the HR Minister say that the Operators create “artificial works conditions” like work “12 to 24” hours daily. (The Star Page N10, 13th of March)

Further the operators say that 25,000 outlets face closure due to this increase and that the levy raise is too much and there are other expenses like medical fee, visa charges, insurance and so on. Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association President also said that business have shrunk 30% in the past 6 months.

I have this to say, indeed Restaurant workers are lowly paid, be it in Restaurants, Coffee Shops and Hotels.

In general we in the industry faces difficulty in getting in staffs, for me this is mainly due to the work conditions like, A person starting in this industry vs a person starting as a bank clerk or factory worker will be disadvantage at the end of his work life, as his/her EPF will be lower than the clerk or the factory worker, as the EPF is based upon basic pay only(which is low), even if both persons have the same take home pay. This is due to the fact that most restaurant workers are paid a low basic and have allowances in form of customer tips or the service charge.

You are expected to work a 6 day week, ie a 48 hours week minimum, vs 5 ½ day week or even a 5 day week of a clerk.

You are expected to be on your feet the whole time you are working. And Over time ie work beyond 8 hours is common.

It’s also not just taking orders and serving food and beverage, its also carrying in of stock, crates, and table etc, it’s also cleaning of restaurants, toilets, laundry, ironing etc are some of the job you are expected to do.

How do I know this? I work in this industry for the past 20years! If I have a chance to repeat my life, i will op to be a bank clerk, or any other industry then this.

As the HR Minister says, improve the work conditions, use the money you have to pay to agents, medical, expenses, levy, to pay the locals workers, you might be presently surprise.

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