Labour Dept to look into workplace bias

National 1 minute, 47 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

LOCAL workers who face discrimination at the workplace or are unhappy with their employers' treatment are "welcome" to file complaints to the Labour Department, the Minister of Home Affairs said yesterday.

"If there are local workers who are not satisfied with their employers' treatment or they are facing discrimination of any kind, they are welcome to lodge complaints to the Labour Department, so further investigations can be carried out to pinpoint the causes," said Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof during the State Legislative Council meeting yesterday. The minister was responding to a question posed by Council member Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad, who argued that local workers would "not run away and stick to their jobs" if they were given the same terms and conditions as those to their foreign counterparts.

Previously media reports have stated that many local workers in the sultanate are seen as "unreliable" by employers in the private sector, with some saying that the locals "lack commitment" and are "not hard working enough".

However, Hj Mohd Shafiee alleged that despite holding the same positions, there are frequent cases where foreign workers are given benefits while the locals are not given anything.

"Locals may be choosy when it comes to work and may not stay long in their jobs, but these are assumptions that only have some truth to it. It is also subject to the treatment given to the local workers," the Belait District representative pointed out.

"We hope the big companies adopt a caring attitude that is visible between local and foreign workers," he said.

The number of locals working in the sultanate's private sector is on the increase, with 29,547 citizens and permanent residents registered with private sector companies in 2003 as compared to 32,224 locals two years ago.

However, these figures are pale in comparison to the number of foreign workers, who make up about 69 per cent of the overall number of workers in the private sector.

The Brunei Times