"The MTUC had initially opposed the amendments passed by the Dewan Rakyat last October on grounds that the changes would erode workers’ rights."
PUTRAJAYA: Amendments to the Employment Act pertaining to labour contractors will only apply to the plantation sector.
This was decided at a National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meeting here.
“The Government will apply the amendments to only one sector, which is plantation. Other sectors will be excluded,” Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam told reporters after chairing the meeting yesterday.
The MTUC had initially opposed the amendments passed by the Dewan Rakyat last October on grounds that the changes would erode workers’ rights.
Dr Subramaniam, however, countered that the amendments were not mooted by the Government but done at the request of the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW).
The amendments include a provision requiring labour contractors to be registered, which the MTUC fears will further encourage sourcing of labour.
Dr Subramaniam said the NLAC agreed to work on guidelines regarding remuneration and bonus payouts to employees based on performance and productivity.
Also in the pipeline is a roundtable discussion with all stakeholders —from employers to workers and NGOs — to delve into the issue of bringing in and engaging foreign labour.
Regarding fears that a minimum wage could push employers to remove worker benefits in exchange for higher basic salaries, Dr Subramaniam said that would likely be only a temporary hiccup.
“Unionised workers would have their collective agreements to deal with such issues, while non-unionised workers can fall back on their contract agreements.
“Minimum wage only deals with the basic salary. Anything above the basic salary is up to the employee and employer to discuss.”
Meanwhile, manufacturers are asking for more time before the minimum wage policy is implemented.
They expressed their views at a press conference attended by 16 associations representing different industries.
Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association president Lim Kok Boon, who acted as their spokesman, said minimum wage was certain to increase overall production costs.
“A sudden and substantial hike in wages could result in some 200 small plastics manufacturing companies shutting down, leading to permanent loss of 10,000 jobs,” he added.- Star, 7/3/2012, Labour contractors only for plantation sector