Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MTUC disappointed that after 2 years and 4 months, workers Minimum Wage rates still not increased

MTUC disappointed that after 2 years and 4 months, workers Minimum Wage rates still not increased 
19 May 2015

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) is disappointed that Malaysia will still not increase the Minimum Wage now in May 2015, noting that cost of living over last years have increased drastically by, amongst other reasons, the removal of subsidies and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

It was reported that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the at the government’s Labour Day celebrations at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on 1/5/2015 ‘said minimum wage could not be increased now’ (Star, 2/5/2015, 11MP to focus on human resources development, says PM). This is unacceptable because it is unjust that workers in Malaysia are required to enjoy same rate of Minimum Wages for more than 2 years and 4 months.

National Wage Consultation Council Act 2011 in Section 25(1) clearly state that, “The Council shall, at least once in every two years, review the Minimum Wages Order”, and this certainly includes the Minimum Wage Rates. Two years is the statutory maximum period before which Minimum Wage rates should be increased, and the law is clear that Minimum Wages could be reviewed and increased even at a faster rate depending the effectiveness of current rates having due regard to also the socio-economic reality of workers and their families. Clearly, the cost of living has escalated since the last Minimum Wage Order in 2012 was made, and this should have reasonably led to increases in the Minimum Wage rates.

It must be pointed out that the last Minimum Wages Order 2012 (P.U. (A) 214) was made on 16 July 2012, and since then it has been almost 2 years and 10 months – as such the next Minimum Wage Order which really should have been made on or before 16th July 2014 is long overdue. Workers in Malaysia should have been enjoying higher Minimum Wage Rates at the very least since the beginning of the year – 1st January 2015.

MTUC notes that the Malaysian government has effectively denied many workers the full enjoyment of their right to Minimum Wages as of 1st January 2013 by reason of the various exemptions provided to certain employers or classes of employers. MTUC also reiterates its protest on that discriminatory nature of Minimum Wages (Amendment) Order 2013 which created a situation where migrant workers in certain workplaces were denied Minimum Wages for a certain period when their fellow local workers already enjoyed this right to Minimum Wages.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was clearly wrong when he said that, ‘We have only implemented the minimum wage policy for about a year and five months…’ (Malaysian Digest, 3/5/2015, ‘Too soon to review minimum wage’ – Najib), because the relevant Minimum Wage Order was made in July 2012, whereby workers in Malaysia started enjoying minimum wages on 1 January 2013 – and it has been more than 2 years and 4 months since workers started enjoying a Minimum Wage of RM900 (Peninsular Malaysia) and RM800 (for Sabah and Sarawak). MTUC was also unhappy about this discrimination against workers in Sabah and Sarawak, considering also that the cost of living in East Malaysia is higher than in Peninsular Malaysia, a fact that is also reflected in the official poverty line income.

MTUC calls on the Malaysian government to immediately increase Minimum Wage rates to at least RM1,200, and this entitlement should be made effective as of 1st January 2015. Employers should be compelled to immediately pay all monies due to the worker by reason of the increased Minimum Wage from the beginning of the year until the relevant date. There should be no exemption for any employer, and all workers, including migrant workers, in Malaysia should be treated equally without discrimination.

N. Gopal Kishnam Secretary General
Tel: + 6 019 317 4717
Email: gopalkishnam@gmail.com

Source: MTUC Website

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

INDUSTRIAL COURT RULES 1967

Adalah agak menyedihkan bahawa perundangan lengkap berkenaan hak pekerja dan kesatuan sekerja tidak dengan jelas terpapar di laman web Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) dan laman web kesatuan yang lain. Adalah juga sedih ianya tidak terpapar dalam laman web Kementerian berkenaan, Industrial Court, IRD dan Jabatan berkenaan. Bagaimana pekerja dan kesatuan boleh mengunakan undang-undang untuk mempertahankan hak mereka juka undang-undang itu sendiri tidak senang diketahui atau dijumpai. Justeru, Blog ini jumpa membantu dengan memaparkan Industrial Court Rules 1967 - yang dibuat berasaskan kuasa yang diberikan oleh Industrial Relations Act 1967

Akta lain yang boleh ditemui di Laman web Industrial Court adalah - 

Kini hanya undang-undang asas dipaparkan tetapi malangnya undang-undang subsidiary saperti Industrial Court Rules dan banyak lagi tidak dipaparkan. 



INDUSTRIAL COURT RULES 1967

Preamble
IN exercise of the powers conferred by section 25 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1967, the President, with the approval of the Minister, makes the following rules governing the procedure and proceedings of the Industrial Court.
PRELIMINARY


1  Citation.
These rules may be cited as the Industrial Court Rules, 1967, and shall be deemed to have come into force on the 24th day of August, 1967.

2  Interpretation
In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires, words therein shall have the same meaning as given to them by the Industrial Relations Act, 1967, and in addition-
"Act" means the Industrial Relations Act, 1967;

"Case" means any trade dispute or matter referred to the Court by the Minister and any other matter required to be determined or considered by the Court under the provisions of the Act;

"Form" means the appropriate form set out in the Schedule to these Rules;

"Premises of the Court" means the premises situated at Jalan Mahkamah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur or such other premises as the President may from time to time declare to be the premises of the Court;

"President" means the President of the Court appointed under the Act and includes, where the context and the Act so admit, the Chairman of a Division of the Court constituted under section 23 of the Act.

REPRESENTATION IN COURT

3  Legal Practitioners.
(1) Any party seeking, under the provisions of section 27 of the Act, the permission of the President to be represented at the proceedings before the Court by a legal practitioner shall make application in triplicate in Part 1 of Form A.

(2) The Secretary shall serve a copy of Form A on the other party.

(3) Such other party may signify in Part 11 of the Form objections if any, to the application made in Part 1. If the Form be not returned to the Secretary at the premises of the Court within five days of the date of service, no objections to the application made subsequent thereto will be entertained.

4  Warrant of Authority.
(1) Any party who intends to be represented at the proceedings before the Court by a representative under the provisions of section 27 of the Act shall sign a warrant of authority in favour of such representative in Form B.

(2) A party appearing before the Court by a representative shall be bound by the acts of that representative.

5  Description of Parties.
In all proceedings before the Court, an employer who is a party and is represented by a trade union of employers and workmen who are parties and are represented by a trade union of workmen shall be described by the name of such trade union.

COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS

6  Submission of Collective Agreement for cognizance.
Upon a collective agreement being deposited with the Secretary under the provisions of section 16(1) of the Act, the Secretary shall bring it to the notice of the Court for cognizance in Form C.

7  Requirement to Amend.
(1) A requirement under the provisions of section 16(2)(b) of the Act that such part of a collective agreement as does not comply with section 14 of the Act shall be amended in such manner as the Court may direct shall be in Form D.
(2) The place, date and time for the parties to attend to carry out the directions of the Court shall be fixed by the President and shall be endorsed on the requirement to amend.

(3) The Secretary shall serve such requirement to amend endorsed as aforesaid on the parties to the collective agreement.

(4) If any party objects to the amendments directed to be made, the President shall fix the date on which the matter will be heard.

(5) Upon such date being fixed, the Secretary shall serve notice thereof in Form E.

CASES BROUGHT BEFORE THE COURT

8  Fixing of dates for hearing.
(1) Upon a case being brought before the Court, the Secretary shall immediately serve notice in Form F of the place, date and time for mention of the case before the President.

(2) Notwithstanding the absence of any party at the place, date and time prescribed by paragraph (1), the President may fix dates for hearing of the case and no application for any alteration of the dates will be entertained except under very exceptional circumstances.

(3) Upon the dates for hearing being fixed, the Secretary shall serve notice thereof in Form G.
9  Statement of Case
(1) Upon a case being brought before the Court, the Secretary shall immediately serve notice in Form H on one or other of the parties as the President shall direct to submit to the Court a Statement of Case.

(2) Within seven days from the date of service of such notice or within such extended time as may be permitted by the President, the party served (hereinafter referred to as "the first party") shall, in submitting his Statement of Case to the Court, deliver to the Secretary at the premises of the Court during office hours or forward to him at such premises by A.R. Registered Post six copies of such Statement of Case.

(3) Such Statement of Case shall be confined to the issues which are included in the Case referred to the Court by the Minister or in the matter required to be determined by the Court under the provisions of the Act and shall contain-
(a) a statement of all relevant facts and arguments;
(b) particulars of decisions prayed for;
(c) an endorsement of the name of the first party and of his address for service; and
(d) as an appendix or attachment, a bundle of all relevant documents relating to the case.

(4) Should a Statement of Case fail to comply with the provisions of the preceding paragraph, it may be rejected by the President whereupon the Secretary shall serve notice in Form 1 on the first party to submit a fresh Statement of Case and the provisions of paragraphs (2) and (3) of this rule shall apply.

(5) The Secretary shall serve a copy of the Statement of Case or fresh Statement of Case, as the case may be, on the opposite party.

10  Statement in Reply
(1) Upon the Secretary serving a copy of a Statement of Case on the opposite party, he shall also serve notice in Form J on such party to submit to the Court a Statement in Reply.

(2) Within seven days from the date of service of such notice or within such extended time as may be permitted by the President, the opposite party shall, in submitting his Statement in Reply to the Court, deliver to the Secretary at the premises of the Court during office hours or forward to him at such premises by A.R. Registered Post six copies of such Statement in Reply.

(3) Such Statement in Reply shall be confined to the matters raised in the Statement of Case and to any issues which are included in the case referred to the Court by the Minister or in the matter required to be determined by the Court under the provisions of the Act and which may have been omitted from the Statement of Case and shall contain-
(i) a statement of all relevant facts and arguments;
(ii) particulars of decisions prayed for;
(iii) an endorsement of the name of the opposite party and of his a address for service; and
(iv) as an appendix or attachment, a bundle of all relevant documents relating to the case and which have not already been included in the Statement of Case.
[(3)(b) Deleted PU(A) 175/1991]

(4) Should a Statement in Reply fail to comply with the provisions of the preceding paragraph (3), it may be rejected by the President whereupon the Secretary shall serve notice in Form K on the opposite party to submit a fresh Statement in Reply and the Provisions of the preceding paragraphs (2) and (3) of this rule shall apply.

(5) The Secretary shall serve a copy of the Statement in Reply or fresh Statement in Reply, as the case may be, on the first party.

11  Rejoinder.
(1) The first party may and, if directed by the President, shall submit to the Court a Rejoinder to the Statement in Reply within seven days from the date of service on him of the Statement in Reply by delivering to the Secretary at the premises of the Court during office hours or forwarding to him at such premises by A.R. Registered Post six copies of such Rejoinder.

(2) Such Rejoinder shall relate only to such of the matters as have been raised or alluded to in the Statement in Reply, and in other respects the provisions of Rule 10 (Statement in Reply) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

PARTY ADDED

12  Joinder Substitution.
Whenever in any case the Court has, under the provisions of section 29(a) of the Act, ordered that any party be joined or substituted, the Secretary shall serve a summons in Form L on such party to appear before the Court.
13  Statements upon party joined or substituted
Upon a party being joined or substituted, he shall submit to the Court a Statement of Case or Statement in Reply, as the case may be, and the provisions of Rule 9 (Statement of Case), Rule 10 (Statement in Reply) and Rule 11 (Rejoinder) shall apply mutatis mutandis.
INTERPRETATION OF VARIATION
14  Interpretation of Award or Collective Agreement
(1) An application made under section 33(1) of the Act for a decision on any question arising as to the interpretation of any award or collective agreement taken cognisance of by the Court shall be made by delivering to the Secretary at the premises of the Court during office hours or forwarding to him at such premises by A.R. Registered Post six copies of the application in Form M.

(2) The place, date and time for the hearing of the parties on the question shall be fixed by the President and notified to the parties by the Secretary by endorsement on the application.

(3) The Secretary shall serve copies of such application endorsed as aforesaid on the parties bound by the award or collective agreement.
15  Variation of Award or Collective Agreement
(1) An application made under section 33(2) of the Act for the variation of any of the terms of an award or collective agreement shall be made by delivering to the Secretary at the premises of the Court during office hours or forwarding to him at such premises by A.R. Registered Post six copies of the application in Form N.

(2) The place, date and time for the hearing of the parties on the application shall be fixed by the President and notified to the parties by the Secretary by endorsement on the application.

(3) The Secretary shall serve copies of such application endorsed aforesaid on the parties bound by the award or collective agreement.
SUMMONS TO APPEAR
16  Summons.
A summons issued by the Court requiring any party or person to appear before it or to produce documents under the provisions of paragraphs (b) and (c) of section 29 of the Act shall be in Form O.
SERVICE
17  Address for Service.
(1) Every document which is delivered or forwarded to the Secretary in connection with any matter before the Court shall be endorsed with the name and address of the party delivering or forwarding the same and that address shall be taken to be the address for service of that party.[(1) Am. PU(A) 203/2007:r.2]

(2) For the purpose of these Rules, .document. includes a summons or notice.[(2) Ins. PU(A) 203/2007:r.2]
18  Service
Any document required to be served may be served by the Registrar or by any person authorized by the President or Registrar.[18. Subs. PU(A) 203/2007:r.3]

19  Manner of Service.
(1) Service of a document on a person other than a body corporate, firm, society, trade union or other unincorporated body may be effected by.
(a) leaving it with the person;
(b) tendering it to that person; or
(c) posting it by A.R. Registered Post addressed to that person at his address for service.

(2) Service of a document upon a body corporate may be effected by.
(a) leaving it with the President, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer or any other officer responsible for the management of the body corporate;
(b) tendering it to the President, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer or any other officer responsible for the management of the body corporate; and
(c) posting it by A.R. Registered Post addressed to the President, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer or any other officer responsible for the management of the body corporate at the registered office or place of business of the body corporate or at its address for service.

(3) Service of a document on a firm, which is a partnership or sole proprietorship, may be effected by.
(a) leaving it or tendering it with a partner of the firm or the sole proprietor, as the case may be; or
(b) posting it by A.R. Registered Post addressed to the sole proprietor or a partner of the firm at the registered address or place of business of the firm.

(4) Service of a document on a trade union may be effected by.
(a) leaving it with the President, the Secretary, the Treasurer or other officer of a trade union;
(b) tendering it to the President, the Secretary, the Treasurer or other officer of the trade union; or
(c) posting it by A.R. Registered Post addressed to the President, the Secretary, the Treasurer or other officer of trade union at the registered office for the trade union or at its address for service.

(5) Service of a document on a society or any other unincorporated body may be effected by.
(a) leaving it or tendering it with the President, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer or other similar officer thereof; or
(b) posting it by A.R. Registered Post addressed to the President, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer or other similar officer thereof at its registered address or place of business or place where its activity or affairs are conducted.[19. Subs. PU(A) 203/2007:r.4]

20  Substituted Service.
The President may make such order for substituted service of any document as he may think fit.[20. Am. PU(A) 203/2007:r.5]

21  Date of Service
The date of service of any document shall be taken to be the date on which such document has been left or tendered or posted or affixed in accordance with the provisions of Rule 19 or as ordered under the provisions of Rule 20.

21A  Procedure before hearing.
(1) Before the hearing, the President may call upon the parties to submit to the Court, within fourteen days of the date fixed for hearing, an agreed bundle of documents relating to the case and an agreed statement of facts, if any. Such agreed bundle and agreed statement of facts shall form part of the documentary evidence.

(2) The President may, if he thinks fit, permit any party to state the evidence of its witness by way of affidavit and/or affidavit-in-reply at least one month before the date of hearing. If such a course of action is taken, the President shall, on an application to be made by the opposite party within fourteen days of service of the affidavit, require the deponent of such affidavit to be present and be-examined orally at the hearing.

(3) Such affidavit and examination arising therefrom shall form part of the record and proceedings of the Court.

21B  Notice to produce documents.
(1) The Court may, if it appears desirable in the interests of justice and upon an application being made, order by way of summons any party-
(a) to state on oath orally or by affidavit about documents he has or he has had in his possession or power relating to the matters in question; and
(b) to produce any documents in his possession or power.

(2) A summons to produce documents shall be in Form P.

PROCEDURE AT HEARING

22  Procedure at Hearing
(1) At the hearing, the President shall call upon such party as he may think fit to state his case and to adduce evidence, if any, in support thereof.

(2) The opposite party shall thereafter state his case and adduce evidence, if any, in support thereof.

(3) The first party shall then be at liberty to reply to the matters raised by the opposite party and thereafter the opposite party shall be at liberty to reply to the matters raised by the first party in his reply.

(4) No further submissions or statements may be made except by leave of the President.

23  Proceedings in Public
The proceedings before the Court shall be held in public, provided that the Court may, by virtue of its powers under section 29(e) of the Act, direct that any witness shall be examined or its proceedings or any part thereof shall be conducted in private.

24  Oath or Affirmation
An oath shall be administered in Form Q and an affirmation in Form R.

24A  Enforcement of award on non-compliance
(1) A complaint of any term of any award or collective agreement which has been taken cognizance of by the Court has not been complied with shall be lodged with the Court in Form S.

(2) When the Court makes an order of non-compliance against any party and such order has not been complied with, the Registrar of the Court may, at the request of either party, send a certified copy of the order to the Senior Assistant Registrar of the High Court or the Registrar of the Sessions Court, as the case may be, and the said Senior Assistant Registrar or the Registrar shall cause a copy of such order to be recorded and thereafter the said order shall, for all purposes, be enforceable as ajudgement of the High Court or the Sessions Court in accordance with the Rules of the High Court or the Sessions Court.

(3) The order of the Court shall be in Form T.

24B  Reference to the High Court on a question of law.
(1) An application made under section 33A of the Act for any question of law to be referred to the High Court shall be in Form U.

(2) The place, date and time for the hearing of the application shall be fixed by the President and notified to the parties by the Registrar by endorsement on the application.

(3) The Registrar shall serve copies of such application endorsed as aforesaid on the parties bound by the award.
FORMS

25  Forms not prescribed.
Where a form is not prescribed or where a prescribed form is not suitable to the circumstances of a particular case, forms prescribed may wherever possible be adapted to meet such case; otherwise the form shall be such as the President may direct or approve for the purposes of the particular case.
SCHEDULE
FORMS
Form A - Application for Permission to be Presented by Legal Practitioner (Rule 3)
Form B - Warrant of Authority (Rule 4)
Form C - Submission of Collective Agreement for Cognizance (Rule 6)
Form D - Requirement to Amend (Rule 7(1))
Form E - Notice of Hearing on Amendments (Rule 7(5))
Form F - Notice of Mention of Case (Rule 8(1))
Form G - Notice of Hearing (Rule 8(3))
Form H - Statement of Case (Rule 9(1))
Form I - Fresh Statement of Case (Rule 9(4))
Form J - Statement in Reply (Rule 10(1))
Form K - Fresh Statement in Reply (Rule 10(4))
Form L - Summons to Party Joined/Substituted (Rule 12)
Form M - Application for Interpretation of Award/Collective Agreement (Rule 14)
Form N - Application for Variation of Award or Collective Agreement (Rule 15)
Form O - Summons (Rule 16)
Form P - Summons to Produce Documents Only (Rule 21B)
Form Q - Oath (Rule 24)
Form R - Affirmation (Rule 24)
Form S - Complaint of Non-Compliance (Rule 24A(1))
Form T - Order of Court (Rule 24A(3))
Form U - Application on Points of Law (Rule 24B)

Note: It is always best to check and verify whether the Rules have been changed - these Rules, are correct as of 1/5/2015, I believe. The Forms are also in the Rules - and do look at the Rules for the forms. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Utusan Hari Buruh 1 Mei Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)



Utusan Hari Buruh 1 Mei Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)

Bersatulah Seluruh Umat Buruh Malaysia dan Sedunia  

Parti Rakyat Malaysia mengucapkan selamat Hari Buruh kepada seluruh umat buruh Malaysia dan Sedunia. Bersatulah, buat kesimpulanlah perjuangan  setahun yang lalu, tingkatkan kesedaran politik dan ekonomi umat buruh.  Dalam keadaan sosio-ekonomi negara dan dunia yang  kurang menggalakkan dan penuh dengan ketidakpastian,  tuntutlah  keterjaminan pekerjaan umat buruh (job security), suasana kerja yang lebih kondusif, gaji dan kebajikan yang lebih baik, dan pertahankan hak-hak umat buruh  untuk masa setahun akan datang.  

Hari Buruh tanda kemenangan perjuangan umat buruh di seluruh dunia menentang penindasan dan eksploitasi yang zalim,  menambahbaik keadaan dan suasana tempat kerja, meningkatkan kebajikan dan gaji, serta tuntut dan pertahan   hak-hak umat buruh.

Kini, negara dan masyarakat  kita sedang menghadapi kemelut ekonomi yang serius. Harga minyak mentah dan hasil sumber asli seperti getah terjunam jatuh, sumber-sumber lain kian berkurangan, eksport barangan pembuatan kurang baik, manakala elit pemerintah hidup dengan mewah dan boros, sedangkan rakyat jelata hidup sengsara dan susah.

Dalam keadaan sumber-sumber kita makin tipis,  demi mengisi kewangan yang makin kurang, elit pemerintah tidak menghiraukan kesusahan dan bantahan rakyat jelata, subsidi untuk barangan keperluan asas  ditarik balik, pelbagai cukai dilaksana serta dinaikkan, GST (cukai penjualan dan perkhidmatan) dikenakan dan sebagainya.

Akibatnya, harga barang melambung naik, menyebabkan kehidupan orang ramai tertekan dan terhimpit, kehidupan mereka kian hari kian susah, khususnya keadaan hidup  umat  buruh kasar dan yang bekerja manual paling teruk. Sebaliknya upacara perkawinan anak elit pemerintah mencurahkan perbelanjaan 3 juta ringgit  untuk menghias dewan perkahwinan, sedangkan rakyat  dikenakan dan dibebankan membayar cukai GST 6%.  

Parti Rakyat Malaysia menyeru seluruh umat buruh sama ada bekerja secara manual atau secara intelek  bersatulah, berkesatuanlah, tingkatkan semangat perjuangan  menentang tekanan, penindasan dan eksploitasi, menentang dasar buruh murah  buruh pendatang. Kita semua senasib, sama-sama kita berjuang, mengubah sistem yang tidak munasabah dan menekan, sama-sama mencipta masa  depan yang ceria dan cerah.

Yang benar,


Koh Swe Yong
(Setiausaha Agung PRM)
012-2766551

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ucapan Hari Pekerja 2015 - Setiausaha Agung, MTUC



Sunday, April 26, 2015

MTUC hanya minta gaji minima RM1,200 - sepatutnya minta RM1,500 - RM2,000?

Gaji Minima - persoalannya adalah berapakah gaji perlu untuk menampung kehidupan pekerja sekeluarga di Malaysia?

Di setengah negara kadsar gaji minima berbeda berasaskan lokasi majikan - mungkin lebih tinggi di kawasan bandar, dan kurang di kawasan luar bandar. Kos hidupan nyata berbeda? 

BR1M - Jika kerajaan akur kepada hakikat bahawa setuap keluarga(household) yang berpendapatan RM4,000 ke bawah perlukan bantuan finansial, mengapa jumlah Gaji Minima yang dituntut MTUC sangat rendah? Satu keluarga(household) maksima ada 2 orang yang kerja makan gai - Suami(Bapa) dan Isteri(Emak) - di mana rasional kita minta gaji minima sekurang-kurangnya RM2,000.

Kalau pekerja minta RM1,200 sahaja dan pihak kumpulan majikan tidak mahu gaji minima dinaikkan, kekal pada RM900 - kerajaan akan biasanya memilih satu angka dipertengahan - mungkin RM1,050? Justeru, saya berpendapat bahawa MTUC sepatutnya menuntut RM2,000 berasaskan Br1M atau sekurang-kurangnya RM1,500 supaya kita berpeluang mendapat gaji minima RM1,200..



MTUC’s May Day wish: RM1,200 minimum wage


FMT Reporters
April 27, 2015 
Union turns to Prime Minister Najib Razak to make its wish come true on Friday.

mtuc naik

KUALA LUMPUR: Talks on a new minimum wage have failed after the National Wages Consultative Council had met for the third time and the unions were now turning to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general N Gopal Krishnam said they want the government to fix the minimum wage at RM1,200 per month and are hoping Prime Minister Najib Razak would announce it on Labour Day this Friday.

The minimum wage for private sector workers was set in January 2013 at RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 in Sabah and Sarawak. It must be reviewed every two years under the Minimum Wages Order 2012.

“We now hope the prime minister will make an announcement in his Labour Day message,” said Gopal Krishnam in a report carried by The Malaysian Insider.

There are about 14.2 million workers in private sector, including foreigners and most of those in the lowest income group are finding it difficult to cope with the increased cost of living especially after the 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced on April 1, say unionists from both the private and public sectors.

Steve Shim Lip Kiong, the former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, is the chairman of the wage council which has five representatives from the government, and 18 from among unionists, employers and economists.

Congress of Unions in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Azih Muda said a higher minimum wage is needed to help civil servants cope with the rising cost of living.

Azih said the average wage increase in the public sector was between 2% and 2.5% while the cost of living had increased from 8% to 10% when the GST was introduced.

Cuepacs, which said that about 40% of civil servants were earning about RM850, has been pushing since earlier this year to match the minimum wage of RM1,200 that has been mandated by law for the public sector employees.

Azih is also hoping Najib would announce a review of the 252 salary schemes and allowances of civil servants on Labour Day, or Worker’s Day, which is celebrated worldwide on May 1.- FMT News,

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Malaysia needs strong trade and workers’ unions (an opinion)

Malaysia needs strong trade and workers’ unions – Ganeshwaran Kana


The concern over trade or workers’ unions in Malaysia has never been remarkable. Having repressive laws that inhibited the influence of trade unions even since t colonial era, Malaysians paid little attention to the role of trade unions in a society’s welfare. Moreover, with hudud and GST clogging up the public sphere, probably less Malaysians are concerned over the relevance of trade unions.

Trade unions are instrumental in creating and strengthening collective bargaining power between the employees and employers. A good relationship between a strong trade union and the employer helps the workers to enjoy more benefits and see better pay commensurate with increased productivity. Strong trade unions are pertinent in making sure the rights of the workers are not violated by the employers, besides being a medium to boost labour productivity.

Historically, the colonial master, the British Empire was never fond of workers’ unions. The British introduced the Societies Ordinance as far back as 1889 to prohibit the growing influence of the working class, apart from the nationalist fighters. The Communists, who have been painted negatively in Malaysian history, played a vital role in the growth of trade unions of Malaya back then. The Malayan Communist Party led the Open Front comprising of other political parties and organisations in the aftermath of the recapture of Malaya by British force. On this front, the General Labour Union (GLU) played a crucial role in fighting for Malayan independence. This GLU was later divided into two; one in-charge of Singapore’s labour unions, whilst Malaya’s was taken care by the Pan-Malayan Federation of Trade Union (PMFTU). The Communists also played a role in controlling the PMFTU and advocating against liberation of Malaya.

Looking at the possible damage that can be caused by such labour unions in many issues and particularly opposing the Federation of Malaya 1948 proposal, the British oppressors enforced registration of all trade unions. Government servants were prohibited from joining unions of non-government employees. This was in pursuit of a divide in unity of the domestic workforce. Further action was taken to mandate registration of trade unions in which trade unions’ membership could only be opened to workers’ in similar occupation and industries. This rendered PMFTU as illegal and further weakened trade unions’ activities in Malaya.
A comprehensive analysis of current legislation pertaining to Malaysia’s labour laws show that such provisions introduced by the British still exist.
Malaysia’s legislation on employment and industrial relations comprises of the Trade Union Act, Industrial Relations Act and the Employment Act. There are many existing provisions that weaken the influence of trade unions. For example, trade unions can only be regional, and not national, which means that a trade union can be formed to cover Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah or Sarawak, but a single trade union cannot include all three.
Besides, workers’ unions used to be not permissible in industries conferred with “pioneer” status under Section 15 of Industrial Relations Act, but has since been annulled after an amendment in 2007. To note, whilst trade unions can be formed within the electrical sector, in the electronics sector, trade unions were limited to “in-house establishment”, which means a trade union within a company and not inclusive of employees of the company’s subsidiary workers. This rule was only relaxed in 2009 when the Cabinet allowed regional trade unions for the electronics sector.
Thus, the status quo is establishment of four regional trade unions in Peninsular Malaysia – Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern. However, the rule is not fully liberalised since the Electronic Industry Employees Union covers only workers in Peninsular Malaysia, not
including workers of East Malaysia. As aforementioned, apart from not allowing civil servants to join trade unions with non-civil servants, only workers from similar occupation can form a trade union. This essentially means, while lorry drivers can form a trade union, it cannot include teachers and bankers.
Effects of Poor Labour Law
Such rules and provisions fragment the workforce and weaken collective bargaining power. This opens the way for “capitalists” to ill-treat the workers and not pay sufficient wages. This explains why there are claims of employers not adhering to the minimum wage rule and mistreating the employees. A study by Verite (a global NGO) and funded by the United States Department of Labour, found evidence of abuse of workers' rights in Malaysia's RM241 billion electronics industry.
Malaysia’s 1st Human Development Report specifically touches on effects of weak workers’ unions in Malaysia. The share of wages of national income has actually decreased from 33.8% in 1970 to 32.9% in 2012. In contrast, corporate profits have increased from about half of the national income to nearly two-thirds during the same period. Malaysia’s share of wages is low in comparison to other countries: South Korea’s share is 50.6%, Singapore’s 42.3% and the United Kingdom’s 62.6%.
It also reported that trade union density has dropped by about 40% since 1982 and currently only 8% of Malaysian workers belong to a union. This is despite the growing number of union members and trade unions in Malaysia.

In the past, workers’ who tried to fight for the rights of the other workers have been suspended and even fired. For instance, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) took serious action (sacking, issuance of show-cause letter) over many employees after nearly 700 Railwaymen’s Union of Malaysia (RUM) picketed against the mismanagement of KTMB. They asked for the resignation of KTMB’s President, Datuk Kadir Elias.
Although the affected workers were re-instated, they were required to sign a memorandum which included a reduction of salaries, according to the President of RUM, Abdul Razak Md Hassan who refused to sign.
Apart from that, President of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), Ismail Nasaruddin was terminated by Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad (MAS) for the issuance of a media statement urging MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (now former CEO) to resign. It was mentioned by NUFAM that the CEO had failed to take care of the workers’plight since his appointment. The list goes on and on about such actions by employers that weaken and inhibit the activities of the trade unions.
Malaysia’s productivity level, despite being lower than many developed nations such as Japan and Singapore, is actually growing ahead of other emerging economies. Data from the Malaysia’s Productivity Report 2013/2014 shows that productivity between 2009 and 2013 has increased by 11.7%.
But the bigger question is, has the salary increased as much too?

To recall,a  minimum wage policy was introduced after it was noticed that salary increment fell behind productivity growth. A few years ago, a World Bank report noted that in the past decade, Malaysia’s productivity growth was 6.7%, whilst the salary increment was merely 2.6%. Such a scenario may re-emerge, and thus strong trade unions (especially a national-level trade union comprising of all workers) can work towards helping the workers get the compensation that they deserve.

For that, Malaysia needs strong amendments to the existing laws with the workers’ welfare in mind, while at the same time, being fair to the employers. However, recent announcement by Deputy Human Resource Ministers, Datuk Seri Ismail Abdul Mutalib that the government will propose amendments to the Trade Unions Act 1959 to ensure it will be in tandem to the TPP trade agreement, creates more questions.

First, is the TPP sure to be ratified? Second, will the workers’ rights be trampled in order to satisfy foreign multi-national corporations (MNCs)?

Malaysians need to voice out for stronger trade unions; for your own benefit. – April 6, 2015.

* Ganeshwaran Kana is an Economics undergraduate in University of Malaya and the director of Economic Cluster, Anak Muda Harapan Malaysia.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
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