MPOB Palmnews
 
Date
 17/03/2003
News Provider
 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
News Source
 NSTP
Headline
 Guthrie workers demonstrate over eviction

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14: Some 100 Guthrie workers of Ladang Changkat Salakand Ladang Kamiri, Sg Siput (U), Perak today demonstrated outside MenaraCitibank in Jalan Ampang over their impending eviction on April 1.On being told that Guthrie Chairman Tan Sri Musa Hitam was away, theybecame agitated and started holding up banners and placards about 10.45am.The demonstration drew a huge crowd slowing down traffic.Within 20 minutes, a team of police officers and men in two patrol carsand a mobile unit arrived at the scene to control the crowd. However, thedemonstrators refused to disperse until they saw Musa or hisrepresentative.The workers eventually handed over a memorandum to Guthrie publicrelations manager Datin Nooraizam Aljeffri.Nooraizam told the workers that Musa had agreed to a dialogue with them assoon as he returned from abroad in two weeks time.Workers V. Govindasamy, 46 and S. Munusamy, 52, handed the memorandum toNooraizam on two conditions - the meeting should be held as soon as Musareturned and that the cas scheduled to be heard on April 2 at the IpohHigh Court be postponed to a later date.They also wanted that notice to vacate the estate quarters by April 1 tobe deferred.Nooraizam later told reporters that the company would try to defer thenotice to vacate homes besides trying to postpone the case at the IpohHigh Court.In 1999, some 55 rubber tappers in Ladang Kamiri and another 110 at LadangChangkat Salak lost their jobs when Guthrie decided to replace rubbertrees with oil palm trees.The company stopped the services of the workers on Dec 31, 1999 andoffered them 20 days wages per year of service in compensation.Workers who had served 25 years would receive between RM8,000 and RM9,000each.This, according to the workers, was unreasonable as their families hadbeen working in the estates for three generations.