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Westports takes steps to help staff cope with price hikes

21 JULY 2008 - Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd has announced five new initiatives to help its employees tide over the price increases hitting people of all walks of life.

"On June 8, following the fuel and the electricity price increases, we have improved our employee incentive scheme and introduced higher allowance to help employees cushion the effects of all- round price increases," Westports executive chairman Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam said in a statement last week.

Besides increasing staff income by RM50 each in the form of shift allowance or salary increase, Westports has also introduced a new incentive scheme for all operational staff.

Under the scheme on an average, an employee will be able to take home an extra RM300-500.

For Terminal Equipment Operators, made up of Quay Crane Drivers, RTG Drivers, Stackers and Prime Mover Drivers, the incentive payout was increased for attainment of better moves per hour (mph).

The incentive scheme for Mechanical and Repair (M&R) technicians, measured by breakdown hours/equipment, ranged from RM150 to RM450.

Westports is also encouraging employees to switch their cars from petrol to gas by making available a RM4,000 loan at four per cent interest, deductible over 24 months.

This is followed by the setting up of a grocery store at its business centre for employees to save cost.

The items to be sold initially will be rice, cooking oil, flour, milk powder, beverages and diapers.

Employees will be permitted to buy goods with their e-purse only. This e-purse facility will also be increased from the current RM200 to RM300 per month and will take effect from August 1 2008.

To ease the burden on employees with loans with the company Westports has also extended the payment duration for car, motorbike loans and 2 months salary advance, from 18 months to 24 months.

The two months advance facility was accorded to employees with the knowledge that some were having financial problems.

"To overcome these financial woes, we introduced a two-month advance for workers who needed cash immediately. They did not have to provide a reason and the repayment was deducted from their salary. We found that the rate of absenteeism and medical leave dropped," Gnanalingam said.

The port has even initiated the setting up of a car pool exchange for employees who want to save on traveling cost.

"We seem to be depending too much on the government to do a lot of things for us. In this difficult times, we should also help, especially our own employees," Gnanalingam said.

Source: New Straits Times