Monday, November 14, 2011

Threats to withdraw support and refer to ILO does not seem to work with BN government

Well, the Malaysian government is still 'silent' with regards the proposed amendments of the Employment Act 1955, which, amongst others, will result in labour suppliers ('contractors for labour' or the 'outsourcing agents') becoming and continuing to be the employer of workers they supply to the owner/operator/principal. 

Workers working at ABC factory will no longer be employees of the said factory, and as such will not be able to demand/negotiate better working conditions, pay, etc with ABC, but will be employees of some labour supplier. Union in ABC factory, if already in existence, will be totally weakened - and ultimately be 'irrelevant' - for in negotiations with employers, all that workers have is the threat of protest, pickets, slow-downs and/or strike - but now it is lost for ABC can still operate with 'outside' workers - who are employees of labour suppliers.
Picketers in Seberang Perai, Penang

These labour suppliers do not own/operate any factory, plantation or workplace - and as such have no work of their own that require workers, and if there be a union in the labour supplier's company, which is near impossible, the workers/union will not have the ability to fight for better working conditions or wages for a strike or slow down will just not affect any of their 'labour supplier's' business, production, etc ...would they now. With no assets in the form of a factory or a plantation, it is so easy for these 'labour supplier' companies to just wind-up or close down declaring bankruptcy even when the workers are successful in their claims. Guess what - Malaysia has no specific act even that governs these 'labour-suppliers', now existing 'illegally' as outsourcing companies - who are not companies to whom work has been outsourced but really they are 'labour outsourcing companies' - labour suppliers. 

The use of the term 'outsourcing', I believe is also mischievous and intentional for the normal man in the street can easily be deceived for after all 'outsourcing' of work or part of operations is already an accepted norm...

The government of Malaysia have been totally silent after the 10,000 over persons protest all over the country in 18 different locations on 3/11/2011 ...and the strong condemnation of this amendments of more than 115 groups including also the worlds biggest worker union (ITUC)...and protest from various groups like the JAG, representing the women groups in Malaysia ....but this is typical for this BN government.... Media 'blackout', easily done because the mainstream are owned/controlled by those aligned to the BN government and of course there is that draconian Printing Presses and Publications Act that vest almost unchallengeable power on the government to not give new annual permits or just revoke it...

Keep it out of the news...and proceed to change the labour laws... and life goes on. Workers and their unions just lose...The Malaysian people just loses......
Now, the Malaysian unions have threatened that there will be consequences come next General Elections, and have also threatened to bring this matter to the ILO (see below)... but the BN government is just not bothered and they continue their strategy of just silence ...and blacking out the issue with the hope that Malaysians will soon forget...and get frustrated...hence killing the objections and the protests...

Defer ammendments to Employment Act or face ILO wrath (Update)

PETALING JAYA (Nov 13, 2011): The government risks falling foul of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) if it continues to ignore objections to the amendments to Employment Act 1955.

In issuing the warning, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) said the country's image and reputation were at stake if the unions report the matter to the ILO and the organisation takes up the case. 

"We urge the government to withdraw this bill. Provide the room for us to state our objections.

"The next ILO meeting in Geneva is in June next year. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak should act before the matter is raised at the ILO," TWU secretary-general Datuk Zainal Rampak told a press conference today.

He said if the matter was brought up at the ILO, the international organisation can query the government based on the concerns raised, which could prove embarrassing for Malaysia.

Urging the PM to intervene and hear the trade union's plea, he said the government should put a hold the implementation of the Act until there was strong assurance that it protects the trade union workers.

"We appeal to PM to give us the opportunity to meet up with him and to give us a fair hearing," Zainal said, adding that there had not been any response from the PM’s office since the issue was raised early last month.

He said that the country could only become a high-income nation if workers' needs were given due recognition and support.
According to Zainal, it was the 11.5 million workers in Malaysia that formed the backbone of the national economy instead of employers.

The amendments, he added, did not take this into account and instead favours the employers.

"As partners of the Malaysian community, the government of the day should give workers enough space and opportunity to protect, promote and sustain their collective interests as dignified members of civil society," said Zainal, who is also the International Transport Workers Federation, Asia Pacific Regional Committee chairman.

Reiterating the Malaysian Trade Union Congress’ statements on the matter, he said the amendments further eroded the fundamental rights of workers enshrined in the ILO Conventions 87, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise and Convention 98, Right to Collective Bargaining.

“What Malaysian workers need now, particularly during these difficult economic times, is an Employment Act that protects their basic rights as tripartite partners in civil society, not a Deployment Act that negates the very purpose and objectives of the Employment Act,” Zainal said.

Among the concerns raised about the amendments are Sections 31 and 33, which introduces a new entity called “Contractor of Labour”.

“This amendment is in total conflict with the purpose and spirit of the Employment Act, which emphasises the need to develop, sustain and protect ‘contract of service’ not ‘contract for service’.

“The amended Section 31 has now created two separate employer entities in the Act, when there should only be one,” Zainal said, adding that it allows the agents to supply workers without legal safeguards and frustrated the employer-employee relationship.

He said that by providing ‘Contractor for Labour’, the amendments conveniently permitted employment agents, in collaboration, with the employer, to bypass the legal obligations of the latter which were clearly defined in the Act.

“For instance, when an employment agent supplies workers to a company (employer), he conveniently escapes any legal liability to the workers, because the worksite is not that of the employment agent, but that of the company, which is supposed to the employer.

“On the same token, if the company (employer) were to commit any breaches of its contract for service with the employment agent, and if such breaches were to affect the workers, they will not be able to pursue any legal action against the company,” he said.

Zainal said the workers will not even be able to seek any compensation because in legal terms the “company is not the employer” but the employment agent is, hence there was no legal obligation towards the workers.- The Sun Daily, 13/11/2011, Defer ammendments to Employment Act or face ILO wrath (Update)

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