Over the weekend, recordings of staff at J&T courier mishandling packages and damaging them at the company's facility made their way online.
The clip, which was originally uploaded on TikTok, went viral on other social media as well.
In the 15-second video, workers wearing J&T T-shirts can be seen screaming and throwing parcels into piles.
This, of course, led to complaints by many whose items were damaged or were concerned by what happened.
Why would anyone do that?
The initial story that came up when the video went viral is that the staff were protesting a wage cut by J&T.
It was alleged that the courier company reduced part-time staff's commission from the original RM1 or RM1.50 (the numbers varied between people who were talking about the issue) per package delivered.
Under the new payment scheme, full-time staff who are paid RM1,200 only allegedly received RM0.30 commission for each package.
Instagram page The Loud Asians
made a useful infographic explaining the issue, and you can check it out below:
Malaysians, being the opiniated people we are, had a lot to say about the issue.
While some were angry at the actions of the staff who destroyed the properties of those who had done them no wrong, others said that sometimes people have to be disruptive to be heard.
Sounds like 'gajah dengan gajah gaduh, pelanduk mati di tengah'
kind of situation.
Of course, a company like J&T is the much more powerful elephant in this situation compared to their staff but you get what we mean, right?
Since the video went viral, J&T has released a press release explaining their side of the story.
According to the press release, the protest stemmed from a "misunderstanding" of some of the company's staff in their Perak branch over bonus payment.
“J&T has given employees year-end bonuses after comprehensive consideration, in accordance with the bonus rules and regulations, and in accordance with the Malaysian Labour Law, full bonuses are paid to employees who have worked for a year. For employees who have worked for less than a year, bonuses are paid according to the length of working time without prejudice.
“Unfortunately, certain employees are not clear about the bonus payment scheme which led to violent sorting of packages on February 4, inciting some employees to make collective disturbances and posting the videos to social media,” the company said in the statement.
The company also promised to compensate customers whose parcels were damaged.
“This is indeed a fault in our management. We have formulated special regulations and management methods for settlement of claims and supervision of similar incidents, and fast settlement of lost packages. We are grateful to the public for their love and support for J&T,” it said.
J&T also admitted that with higher volume of parcels received since the pandemic started, the company has hired temporary staff to meet the demands but only basic training were given to the new staff.
The company said it will rectify this shortcoming.
Since then, the staff involved in the protest have also come up with a video apologising for the incident and saying that J&T were not shortchanging their staff.
What can you do if you feel your company is shortchanging you?
The first thing you should do when you agree to employment is get a legal, written contract.
This is a given most times when you're a permanent staff especially, but even if you're only working part time or taking up a freelance project, be sure to have some kind of black and white document that states the agreed upon wages among other things.
Once there is a contract, employers are obligated to pay you the amount agreed upon except under special circumstances (we'll get to that in a bit).
If you find your pay getting cut without prior notice or for no reason that you could agree to, you should first speak to the Human Resources department and management to clear the issue.
In the event that both parties cannot agree with the reason for the pay cut, you can bring the case to the Industrial Court for breach of contract.
The case will fall under Section 30(5) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967
There's also a law under National Salary Consultative Council Act 2011
that states that it is illegal for companies to shortchange their staff and the company can be fined for doing so.
Some of the exception to wage cut is if it is within what's allowed legally (i.e. when EPF or SOCSO deductions are made), the company is going through a hard time financially and other reasons that is deemed reasonable by the courts.
While protests and strikes are an effective way to spotlight issues, there are other recourses that can be tried first as well.
If you ever face similar issue in the future, remember that you have legal rights and avenue that you can pursue.