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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2nd protest by about 400 workers (NUTEAIW) but the Media did not report this, save for Sinar Harian

The protest is about workers in Syarikat Armstrong Auto Parts Sdn Bhd., Tikam Batu and Armstrong Auto Parts Sdn Bhd., Prai, companies making automotive parts, and it was the 2nd protest by National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW) (sumber Labour Bulletin, MTUC) The 1st protest action was on 8/2/2013, whilst the 2nd was on 22/2/2013


One of the issues were about the loss of allowances that the workers enjoyed before, when the employer now has allegedly lumped into their wages to help satisfy employer's obligation to pay Minimum Wages of RM900 as of 2013. 

Note that 82 groups in a statement(5/2/2013) did address the very issue, amongst others, :-


We take the position that all workers, including migrant workers, are entitled to receive minimum wages, whereby this is the basic wage and should not include allowances, benefits and other work incentives. Employers should not be permitted to remove pre-April 2012 worker entitlements and benefits, being the date the Minimum Wage Order 2012 came into force, from existing and subsequent employment contracts.- 82 Groups - MINIMUM WAGES FOR ALL WORKERS, INCLUDING MIGRANT WORKERS - No to Wage Deduction to recover Levy Payable By Employers -


It is very disturbing when MEDIA is now afraid to report the names of the employers and the factories concerned. This must change - be brave. Press Freedom must be respected. Media must be free to report not just the facts but also the viewpoints of people, and this is also an OBLIGATION for the people of Malaysia have a right to know.

Utara
Minta majikan patuhi janji
Wartawan Sinar Harian
24 Februari 2013
Minta majikan patuhi janji
Pekerja mengadakan bantahan aman di Jalan Persekutuan Butterworth-Sungai Petani, petang kelmarin.
 
KUALA MUDA - Kira-kira 400 pekerja dari sebuah syarikat menghasilkan komponen kenderaan di sini mengadakan bantahan aman berhubung masalah gaji pokok dan elaun pekerja selain isu pekerja kontrak yang berlarutan.

Bantahan di tepi Jalan Persekutuan Butterworth-Sungai Petani dekat kawasan perusahaan Tikam Batu petang kelmarin itu dibuat kali kedua setelah perbincangan antara majikan dan pekerja tidak mendapat mencapai kata sepakat.

Menurut maklumat, sebelum ini, gaji pokok beranggaran RM650 dan elaun kira-kira RM130 diasingkan tetapi sejak 2013, gaji pokok yang dinaikkan dan elaun digabungkan menjadi RM900.

Pengerusi Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-Pekerja Perusahaan Alat-alat Pengangkutan dan Sekutu (NUTEAIW), Anuar Suid berkata, kira-kira 700 pekerja menerima kesan akibat daripada keengganan majikan mengikuti saranan kerajaan yang menetapkan gaji minimum terbabit.

“Bagaimanapun, tindakan majikan menggabungkan gaji pokok dan elaun adalah melanggar syarat dan perjanjian yang dibuat sebelum ini,” katanya.

Menurutnya, selain isu gaji minimum, pekerja juga membantah tindakan majikan mengambil pekerja kontrak secara bulanan yang ternyata menganiaya pekerja dengan meminta jawatan kontrak diserap ke jawatan tetap.

“Isu pekerja kontrak sebulan juga sepatutnya diperbaiki kerana keadaan ini tidak dapat memberi sebarang jaminan pekerjaan sekiranya kontrak pekerja tidak disambung seperti yang pernah berlaku sebelum ini.

“Kira-kira 60 peratus pekerja mempunyai komitmen keluarga dan lain-lain, bagaimanapun, status kontrak ini menyukarkan urusan dengan institusi kewangan dan sebagainya,” katanya.

Katanya, perbincangan yang diatur di Pejabat Perusahaan Pulau Pinang antara wakil kesatuan dan majikan pada 28 Februari ini diharapkan akan ada penyelesaian positif kepada kedua-dua pihak.

“Kita berharap majikan bersikap lebih terbuka dengan mengambil kira kebajikan pekerja selain mematuhi perjanjian yang sudah dipersetujui,” katanya.- Sinar Harian, 24/2/2013,
Minta majikan patuhi janji

 


Kami ahli Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-Pekerja Alat-Alat Pengangkutan Dan Sekutu, yang berkerja di Syarikat Armstrong Auto Parts Sdn Bhd., Tikam Batu dan Armstrong Auto Parts Sdn Bhd., Prai, dengan persetujuan bersama untuk mengadakan piket di hadapan kedua-dua syarikat atas alasan tidak bersetuju dengan tindakan syarikat dalam beberapa perkara seperti berikut:
i.)          Pihak syariakat gagal mematuhi bayaran gaji minima yang telah di diwartakan oleh pihak kerajaan.
ii.)        Pihak syarikat juga gagal membuat penyusunan semula dalam skil gaji untuk menunjukkan perbezaan yang berlaku atas bayaran gaji minima
iii.)      Mengaji lebih dari seratus orang pekerja tempatan sebagai pekerja kontrak untuk tempoh lebih dari setahun.
Kami akan terus mengadakan piket walaupun lebih dari seminggu kalau pihak syarikat gagal mengambil tindakan sewajarnya untuk menyelesaikan atas perkara-perkara yang dibangkitkan.
Sumber: http://labourbulletin4workers.blogspot.com/2013/02/piket-20-armstrong-auto-part-sdn-bhd.html

Monday, February 18, 2013


PICKET AT ARMSTRONG AUTO PART SDN BHD 8 FEB 2013


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnwbKDKRF58&feature=youtu.be

Kami ahli Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-Pekerja Perusahaan Alat-Alat Pengangkutan Dan Sekutu, yang berkerja di Syarikat Armstrong Auto Parts Sdn Bhd., Tikam Batu dan Armstrong Auto Parts Sdn Bhd., Prai, dengan persetujuan bersama untuk mengadakan piket di hadapan kedua-dua syarikat atas alasan tidak bersetuju dengan tindakan syarikat dalam beberapa perkara seperti berikut:

i.) Pihak syariakat gagal mematuhi bayaran gaji minima yang telah di diwartakan oleh pihak kerajaan.

ii.) Pihak syarikat juga gagal membuat penyusunan semula dalam skil gaji untuk menunjukkan perbezaan yang berlaku atas bayaran gaji minima

iii.) Mengaji lebih dari seratus orang pekerja tempatan sebagai pekerja kontrak untuk tempoh lebih dari setahun.

Sumber: http://labourbulletin4workers.blogspot.com/2013/02/picket-at-armstrong-auto-part-sdn-bhd-8.html

Sunday, February 24, 2013

NUBE "Ganyang Style" picket in front of CIMB Bank Kangar, Perlis - one of many BUT as usual almost no media coverage

NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees) have been picketing for worker rights and justice but alas, it is doubtful that Malaysian TV or media even covered this. It demonstrate the bias against the ordinary worker, trade unions and ...in short 'the small people'. NUBE is fighting for the rights of its members.

The CEO of CIMB is Nazir Razak, the brother of the current Malaysian Prime Minister.
NUBE Picket at CIMB Bank Kangar, Perlis on 23rd February 2013


Follow the link to watch the video on youtube..
The most recent pickets were held in Kedah and Kangar
 
22.2.2013 (Fri) -   10.00am - 10.30am            at CIMB Kulim Branch, Jalan Tunku Putra
                                                                                                                                               
22.2.2013 (Fri) -   12.00pm - 12.30pm            at CIMB Sg.Petani Branch, Jalan Kampung Baru

22.2.2013 (Fri) -   5.00pm - 6.00pm                 at CIMB Persiaran Sultan Abdul Hamid Branch, Alor Setar

23.2.2013 (Sat) - 10.30am - 11.30am             at CIMB Kangar Branch, Jalan Penjara


On 15th and 16th, pickets were held in front of the CIMB Bank in Karak, Temerloh, Kuantan and Pekan

See also :

Nube tuntut adik Najib selesai isu pekerja CIMB



NUBE Picket In Pekan - 16/2/2013



MEDIA MUST GIVE SPACE FOR WORKER AND UNION VOICES AND ACTIONS

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bar: Absurd Detention and Deportation of Australian Senator

Press Release: 
Absurd Detention and Deportation of Australian Senator

Saturday, 16 February 2013 02:28pm
ImageThe Malaysian Bar is astounded at the absurdity of the Malaysian authorities in detaining Australian Senator Nick Xenophon upon his arrival on Malaysian soil this morning.  He is currently in custody, having been reportedly refused entry into the country, and will be deported.

Such shameful action on the part of the authorities shows the sizeable gulf between the aspirational statements of the Prime Minister that Malaysia is a modern democracy, and the irrational actions of the people around him.

During the Senator’s visit to Malaysia, he was scheduled to meet representatives of the Government, the Opposition, civil society groups, as well as leaders of the Malaysian Bar.

The authorities are apparently relying on section 8(3) of the Immigration Act, which stipulates the classes of prohibited immigrants, as the legal basis for detention.  However, in the public mind the most natural inference is that the Malaysian Government opposes, and is fearful of, the Senator's views and comments, as he has been outspoken and critical of the Government regarding issues of democracy and human rights.1

Criticism of policy and governance must be respected and received without reprisal, even if they contain inconvenient and uncomfortable truths.  Any other reaction would be a sign of insecurity, and would disrespect the rule of law.

The Malaysian Bar reminds the Prime Minister that action must follow aspiration.  In this instance, the authorities owe an unreserved apology to Senator Nick Xenophon and must promise such an incident will not happen again, to him or any other visitor, merely on the basis of their views.

The Malaysian Bar also calls on the Government to allow the Senator entry into the country, and to assure his colleagues that they will be permitted entry as well.

Lim Chee Wee
President
Malaysian Bar
 
16 February 2013

1See “International Fact-Finding Mission on Elections in Malaysia, 25-29 April 2012: FINAL REPORT”, accessible here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Will Pakatan assure workers that they will regain the right to permanent employment until retirement, and the abolition of the 'contractor for labour' system?

Will the Pakatan Rakyat include in their upcoming election manifesto (PRU Manifesto)  the abolition of the contractor for labour, the abolition of the usage of short-term employment contract - to ensure security of employment tenure until retirement age for workers in Malaysia - it is not enough to just talk about ensuring justice in broad terms with no specifics at all.
 
Now, these is the major demands of workers and unions in Malaysia, a fact also backed by the numerous protests by MTUC and workers, the issuance of media statement(see below)  on 28/10/2011, Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act - Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers - that was endorsed by 115 groups, and the media statement on 3/5/2012, entitled  'Abolish the ‘Contractor for Labour’ system- withdraw the 2012 amendments to Employment Act 1955' endorsed by 93 groups. The assurance by Pakatan Rakyat, by insertion in their election manifesto or by making a public statement would be very re-assuring to workers and unions in Malaysia. The BN government just ignored it... would the Pakatan be different?  
 
The future of Malaysian workers depend on this - not just those currently in employment
 
We call for the abolition of the contractor for labour and their practices and that all workers, currently supplied by these 3rd party manpower/labour suppliers (contractor for labour) who are still not direct employees of the principal employer be immediately made employees of the said principal and be accorded same benefits and treatment as accorded to all other employees without discrimination, including the right to form/join trade unions or afford protection and entitlement to the benefits accorded through their respective Collective Agreements.
We call for the abolition of precarious employment, and for retention of a just 2-party employment relationship between principals and workers, and for the respect of worker and trade union rights. 
 
 Joint Statement – 3/5/2012

Abolish the ‘Contractor for Labour’ system

Withdraw the 2012 amendments to Employment Act 1955.

We, the undersigned 93 trade unions, civil society groups and organizations object to the actions of the government of Malaysia in destroying direct employment relationship between the principal, as employer, and their workers, as employees, with the latest amendments to the Employment Act 1955.
 
The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) , which not only represents the about 800,000 unionized workers but also the over 12 million workers in Malaysia,  have strongly and consistently opposed the proposed amendments since it was first tabled in Parliament vide Bill No: D.R.25/2010 in July 2010, which the government later withdrew. The government re-introduced the Bill with minor changes in June 2011 vide Bill No: D.R.15/2011. MTUC came out even more strongly and also picketed at the Parliament House on 3rd October 2011 and in spite of strong resistance from many quarters, including on the Dewan Rakyat  floor, the controversial Bill was passed on  6th October 201, did finally come into effect on April 1st 2012.
We would like to address just one of several aspects of the new amendments that is the main bone of contention, i.e. the introduction of the new provision for the definition of “contractor for labour”.
With the amendment, the contractor for labour will be the third party (or the middleman) who will come in between the now direct employment relationship between the owner-operator of trade or business (defined as the “principal”) and their worker-employee.
BACKGROUND
The Employment Act 1955 was introduced before independence (Merdeka) by the British Administration effectively abolishing indentured labour, bonded labour and the “kanggani” system in Malaya. (collectively then known as the “contract system”). The Act also did establish two very important principles of law which are considered sacrosanct to this day. They are, security of tenure – ensuring permanence of employment, and proprietary right to the job – where termination of worker, shall be only with just cause and excuse and by due process.
The employment scenario in the country began to change in the early 1990s. In 1992 the government allowed migrant workers for the construction and plantation sector. In 2000, it was extended to manufacturing and service (hotel and restaurants) sectors and in 2002, it was extended to all sectors.
Originally migrant workers were employed directly by the principal employer but this started to change in 2005, when the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers in its meeting on 5-July 2005 agreed to the recruitment of foreign workers through outsourcing companies (now known as ‘Contractor for Labour’ in the amended Act). The issuance of these outsourcing licenses was strangely done by the Ministry of Home Affairs, not the Ministry of Human Resources. There are today about 277 registered labour outsourcing companies in the country today. (The Star, 23-Feb 2010).  
This establishment of the outsourcing companies allowed for the re-emergence of the old ‘contract system’. It opened doors resulting in a direct assault on the basic foundation of labour rights, the undermining dignity of labour, perpetuating the establishment and operation of dehumanized and bonded labour. The practice, which started with migrant workers, was then extended to local workers.
These outsourcing companies recruited local workers and migrant workers, some on fix term contracts, with terms and conditions usually less favourable than that of workers directly employed by principals.
The incidence of principals using workers supplied by outsourcing companies is growing. The principal company pays the outsource company an agreed sum of money for the number of workers supplied, whether they be local or migrant workers. The principal company effectively is able to avoid the employer’s duty and obligation to ensure their workers’ rights and welfare are protected. This practice also saved principal company money that would have ordinarily been expended for workers like medical cost, insurance, bonus, wage increments, retirement benefits, transportation and accommodation, service awards, and several other benefits. It also allows them to evade statutory contributions to the Employees Provident Fund and for social security schemes. The principal company also evades all obligations and safeguards in law when workers are hired or terminated, including domestic inquiries and lay-off and termination benefits. If the principal wants to now get rid of workers, it now merely have to inform the outsource company.
To convert the workforce from permanent employees to short-term contract employees, and now outsourced workers, most principals either retrenched their workers, used “voluntary separation schemes” or other methods, or simply terminated their employees substituting them now with workers supplied by the outsourcing companies.
REASON FOR THE AMENDMENT
These outsourcing companies have been allowed to operate outside the law with no law regulating them. Even though they were manpower/labour suppliers, they were not created under and/or regulated by the Private Employment Agencies Act 1981, which would have also ensured these manpower/labour suppliers would only provide workers and not become employers of workers supplied.  
The recent amendment to the Employment Act is to give these outsourcing companies statutory recognition under the Employment Act, and at the same time institutionalize and legitimize employment through the outsourcing companies, which  now legally will be legally known as the “contractor for labour”.  
A primary reason for the creation of the ‘contractor for labour’ and the introduction of labour outsourcing is to stifle workers and trade unions capacity to demand and negotiate for better rights and benefits. The MTUC Memorandum to the HR Minister dated October 7, 2008 refers to an interview with Datuk Ishak Mohamed, the Enforcement Director of the Immigration Department that was published in New Straits Time, July 20, 2008, where he, amongst others, said, ‘…outsourcing is good as it will attract foreign direct investment. Investors do not want unions to be formed in their establishments. Through outsourcing, it would be difficult for unions to be formed as outsourcing company, and not the factory, would be the employer…’ is indicative of the intention of the government.
SUB-CLASS OF WORKERS.
The creation of this new sub-class of workers, who are not considered employees of the principal, also jeopardizes existing employment relationship between the principal and their current worker-employees, likewise the relationship with their trade unions. Today, these new sub-class of workers, made up of both local and migrant workers, are found in most workplaces, including even government-linked companies, whereby in some factories they currently make up about  50% of the total workforce. Trade unions are being weakened, and their bargaining powers for better rights and benefits for workers are slowly eroding by the increasing presence of workers who are not employees of the principal, and also by the loss of security of tenure created by short-term contracts.
‘Contractor for labour’ is actually outsourcing of labour which is very different from outsourcing of work. Outsourcing of work is when principal employer outsources some specified work or operations which are not their core operation, to another company who carries out the work for the principal using their own employees under their own control and supervision. For example, in several manufacturing companies, cleaning, turf/gardening, canteen and security services are examples of outsourced work. This outsourcing of work is legal, and the workers of those who are doing outsourced work are protected by the Employment Act.
Contrary to the principle that workers doing core operation work should be employees of the principal, this amendment to the Act now allows the ‘contractor for labour’ to supply workers to perform the core operation under the control and supervision of the principal’s supervisory staff and managers. The ‘contractor for labour’ merely collects the salary of the labour supplied and apportions a part to himself  and pays his workers, usually less than the workers who are under the direct employment of the principal, though they do the same work. The principle of equal pay for equal work is thus breached.
The principal, who is considered not the employer of the workers supplied, absolves himself of all liabilities and employer’s obligations with regard these workers supplied by ‘contractor for labour’ who are working for the principal’s benefit,
EMPLOYMENT (EXEMPTION) ORDER 2012
The MOHR Minister, in an attempt to placate the MTUC, trade unions, civil society groups and workers issued an exemption order, effective April 1st 2012, which, amongst others, stated:-
 “…Any person who enters into contract for service with a principal to supply employees required by the principal for the execution of the whole or any part of any work for the principal in any industry, establishment or undertakings other than the agriculture undertakings, is exempted from sections 31, 33A, 69 and 73 of the Act...”
However, the words used in the said exemption order, which by the way also did not include the amendment in section 2, which was the very amendment that gave statutory recognition to the ‘contractor for labour’ and its practices, only further affirms the contractor for labour and their practices. The exempted sections referred to in the said Order merely dealt with ancillary matters like registration of employees when supplied to principal and priority of debt. The exemption order also would deny access to justice for workers now being supplied by these ‘contractor for labour’ in all the exempted sectors.
MTUC and all groups that opposed the amendments were not appeased by this exemption order, and continue their objections to the ‘contractor for labour’.
PROTEST
We strongly object to the ‘contractor of labour’ system. All workers that work under the control and supervision of the principal must be the employees of the said principal not some third party. The Malaysian government’s action is in breach of article 8 of the Federal Constitution. In 1998, Malaysia also ratified the ILO Declarations on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work but this amendment is in  contravention of the said Declaration. Further, it also is in contravention of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda which Malaysia has committed to.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), many trade unions and civil society groups, also opposed, and still oppose this amendment. The Malaysian Bar also recently passed unanimously a resolution on March 10th 2012, amongst others, calling for the maintenance of existing 2-party employment relationships, and also that labour suppliers and/or contractors of labour should never be or continue to be employers of workers after they are supplied, accepted and start working at the workplaces of principals.
The contractor for labour and their practices should not be allowed in any sectors including the plantation and agricultural sector.
DEMAND
We, therefore, demand for the repeal of all amendments to the Employment Act 1955, in particular the amendments to section 2, 31, 33A, 69, 73 brought about by Employment (Amendment) Act 2012 [ACT A1419] relating to the ‘contractor for labour’ and their practices,  and pending repeal for an immediate stopping operation of the said amendments.
We call for the abolition of the contractor for labour and their practices and that all workers, currently supplied by these 3rd party manpower/labour suppliers (contractor for labour) who are still not direct employees of the principal employer be immediately made employees of the said principal and be accorded same benefits and treatment as accorded to all other employees without discrimination, including the right to form/join trade unions or afford protection and entitlement to the benefits accorded through their respective Collective Agreements.
We call for the abolition of precarious employment, and for retention of a just 2-party employment relationship between principals and workers, and for the respect of worker and trade union rights.
Charles Hector
Pranom Somwong
Bruno Pereira
For and on behalf,
ALIRAN (Aliran Kesedaran Negara), Malaysia
Amalgamated Union of Employees in Government Clerical and Allied Services(AUEGCAS )
Amalgamated Union Employees Tenaga Nasional Berhad (AUETNB )
Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
Asian  Migrants Center (AMC)
Asia Monitor Resource Centre(AMRC)
Asia  Pacific  Forum on Women , Law and Development  (APWLD)
Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV)
Association for Community Development -ACD, Bangladesh
BASF Asia Pacific Network
BASF-PETRONAS Malaysia
Burma Campaign Malaysia (BCM)
Burma Partnership
Centre For Reflection And Action On Labour Rights (Cereal Guadalajara), Mexico
Center for Indonesian Migrant Workers-CIMW
Center for Migrant Advocacy, Philippines (CMA-Phils)
Centre des travailleurs et travailleurs immigrants / Immigrant Workers' Centre (Montréal, Québec)
Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (Montréal, Québec)
Christian Development Alternative (CDA)-Bangladesh
Clean Clothes Campaign

Communication Workers Union Victoria,Australia
Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia
Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS), Burma
Dignity International
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), Philippines
Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region Peninsular Malaysia (EIEUWRPM)
FAIR (Italy)
Families Against Corporate Killers, UK
Federation Independent of Trade Union (GSBI) Indonesia
FSPMI ( Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia)
Future In Our Hands, Norway
Garment and Allied Workers Union, India
Hsinchu Catholic Diocese Migrants and Immigrants Service Center (HMISC), Taiwan
Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD),
International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF)
International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Malaysia
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific (KPPAP)
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan
Kesatuan Sekerja NUTEAIW Isuzu Hicom (M) Sdn Bhd, Pekan, Pahang, Malaysia
Kesatuan Industri Elektronik Wilayah Timur Semenanjung Malaysia
Konfederasi Serikat Nasional (National Union Confederation)[KSN] , Indonesia.
Labour Behind the Label, UK
Lal Zenda Coal Mines Majdoor Union (LZCMMU), India
Lembaga Informasi Perburuhan Sedane-Sedane Labour Resource Centre Bogor-Indonesia
LHRLA - Lawyers for Human Rights & Legal Aid (Pakistan)
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malayan Nurses Union(MNU)
MTUC (Malaysian Trade Union Congress)
Migrant CARE, Indonesia
Migrant Forum in Asia(MFA)
Migrante International
National Domestic Workers Movement- AP Region
National Hazards Campaign of UK
NLD-LA (National League for Democracy-Liberated Areas), Malaysia
National Union of Banking Employees (NUBE)
National Union of Petroleum & Chemicals Industrial Workers (NUPCIW), Malaysia
National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW), Malaysia
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)
Occupational and Environmental Health Network of India (OEHNI)
Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSWO)
Paper & Paper Products Manufacturing Employees Union(Reg No 444), Malaysia
Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)
Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)
PINAY - The Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec
Public Services International, Malaysian Affiliates National Coordinating Committee
Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
RightOnCanada.ca, Canada
Sarawak Medical Services Union (SMSU)
Solidarity of Cavite Workers, Philippines
Tenaga National  Berhad Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU)
Tenaganita, Malaysia
Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR)
Thai Labour Campaign, Thailand
The Live And Livelihood Foundation, Bangladesh
The Women's Caucus (Southeast Asia Women's Caucus on ASEAN)
Think Centre – Singapore
United Filipinos In Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
United Students Against Sweatshops,  US
University of Malaya General Staff Union (UMGSU)
WARBE Development Foundation, Bangladesh
Women's Legal and Human Rights Bureau, Inc.(WLB),Philippines
WOREC Nepal
Workers Assistance Center, Inc., Philippines
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA Batam-Indonesia
Yokohama Action Research (Japan)
Clean Clothes Campaign, the Netherlands
Migrant Forum India
BRAC Safe Migration Facilitation Program, Bangladesh
IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
 
 
Media Statement – 28/10/2011 (107 Groups), now 115

Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw
proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act
- Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers -

We, the undersigned 115 organizations, groups and networks are disturbed that the Malaysian government has proceeded to table, and get it passed speedily on 6/10/2011 at the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representative) the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011 despite protests from workers, trade unions and civil society. The proposed changes to the Employment Act would be most detrimental to worker rights, trade unions and the existing just direct 2-party employment relationship between worker and end-user (the principal). Malaysia’s action goes contrary to justice. In many countries employers have been wrongly trying to avoid/disguise employment relationships by way of contracts/agreements and triangular relationships, and Malaysia rather than fighting against this negative trend is now trying to legalize it, hence showing itself to be anti-worker anti-unions. 

We note also that the amendments would result in discrimination at the workplace, as many workers at a factory, plantation or any workplace would end up being no longer employees of the owner-operator of the said workplace, also referred to as the principal or end-user, but would remain employees of the supplier of workers, known as ‘contractor for labour’. Workers doing the same work at the factory, would be treated differently in terms of wages, work benefits and even rights by reason of the fact that their employers are different. This will also go against the Malaysian Federal Constitution that guarantees equality of persons. We advocate that all workers working at a factory or workplace are entitled to be treated equally in terms of wages, work benefits, rights, union rights, reliance on collective agreements and other entitlements.

The proposed amendment would also destroy direct employment relationships between owner-operator of workplaces, being the principal, and the workers that work there producing the product or providing the services from which these principals derive their profits. A just employment relationship dictates that all workers should be employees of the owner-operator employer not some other third party labour supplier, whether they be known as ‘contractor for labour’, outsourcing agent or by any other name. The relationship must be a direct relationship, to the exclusion of all third parties, between the employer who needs workers to do the work to produce the goods of their business for profits, and the workers directly who provide the necessary labour as required in exchange for fair wages and other benefits. The availability of short-term employment contracts is another reason why there is no need to legalize triangular or other employment relationships in Malaysia through the creation of the ‘contractor for labour’.

To fight for decent wages and rights, and to be able to negotiate and get better working conditions and other work benefits, workers at a workplace would generally come together collectively or as a union to be able to negotiate from a stronger position with employers, and this would result in agreements or ‘collective agreements’ between employers and workers (or their unions). If the amendments proposed become law, then many workers at the factory would effectively lose their rights to be able to form or be members of the trade union at the workplace, or the right to directly and effectively negotiate with the principal  who effectively controls the work place, working conditions and benefits.

If the proposed amendment becomes law, effectively it will also weaken existing workers and unions, by reducing their negotiating power for now when a strike or a protest in called, there will be other workers of other third party employers who will continue to work normally thus making worker struggle for better rights almost impossible. This proposed amendment is a ‘union busting’ exercises and allows employers to utilize ‘divide and rule’ tactics to counter legitimate demands of their workers and avoid employer obligations and responsibilities. Another unjustifiable proposed changed is the delay of payment of overtime and work on rest days by a month.

With regard to sexual harassment, the new provision provides only for inquiry by employer even when the alleged perpetrator is a member of the management, a partner, shareholder and/or director of the employer’s business, and provides no clear right of appeal to the Labour Courts or the High Court. Note that other worker rights violations are currently all dealt with by the definitely more independent Labour Department or Industrial Relations Department. Remedy for the victim of sexual harassment is also absent, save maybe the right to resign without the need to give the required notice when the perpetrator is a sole proprietor.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), which represents over 800,000 workers of member unions, who is also is the accepted workers representative in Malaysia, picketed calling for the withdrawal of the amendments on 3/10/2011, and apparently despite the Minister assuring them that the amendment will only be tabled at the end of the month, was suddenly rushed and passed at the Lower House of Malaysia’s Parliament on 6/10/2011.

Malaysia has the Private Employment Agencies Act 1971, whereby these agencies rightfully get workers for employers, who then pay them a fee for the service, and once workers are received by the employer, these workers immediately become employees of the said employer. The amendments will creates a new kind of labour supply companies who will continue as employers of the workers even after they start working at the workplace of the principal, and this is unacceptable. All companies in the business of finding workers for companies that need workers to produce their products or for their business must be private employment agencies, and must never assume or retain the role of employers.

As the said Bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and receive royal assent, before it becomes law, we call on the Malaysian government to act in the best interest of workers and their unions and immediately withdraw this unjust proposed amendments to Employment Act 1955.

We call on Malaysia to immediately discontinue its policy of recognizing outsourcing agents, and act immediately against practices of some employers and outsourcing agents that try to avoid/disguise employment relationships to the detriment of workers and unions.

We call on countries and regional bodies, companies, ILO, trade unions and persons to do the needful to ensure that worker and union rights, not just of local but also migrant workers, are protected in Malaysia, and that the employment relationship continue to be between owner-operator end user employers who actually need workers to do work and the workers that work there to the exclusion of any third party labour suppliers or ‘contractors for labour’.

Charles Hector
Pranom Somwong
For and on behalf of the 115  Organisations listed below:-

Abra Migrant Workers Welfare Association - Hong Kong (AMWWA)
Abra Tinguian Ilocano Society - Hong Kong (ATIS-HK)
ALIRAN, Malaysia
All Women's Action Society (AWAM), Malaysia
Asian Migrants Center (AMC), Hong Kong
Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Hong Kong
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body - Hong Kong (AMCB)
Association for Community Development-ACD, Bangladesh
Association of Concerned Filipinos in Hong Kong (ACFIL-HK)
Association of Indonesia Migrant Workers in Indonesia (ATKI-Indonesia)
Association of Migrant Child & Family, Bangladesh.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
BAYAN Hong Kong
Building and Wood Worker's International (BWI) Asia Pacific
Burma Campaign, Malaysia
Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
Center for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW)
Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR)
Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)
Coordination of Action Research on Aids and Mobility (CARAM-ASIA)
Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia
Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), Hyderabad, India
Cordillera Alliance Hong Kong (CORALL-HK)
Democratic Party For A New Society (DPNS), Burma
Dignity International, Malaysia
Education and Research Association for Consumers Malaysia (ERA Consumer Malaysia)
Filipino Friends Hong Kong (FFHK)
Filipino Migrants Association - Hong Kong (FMA)
Filipino Migrant Workers' Union - Hong Kong (FMWU)
Filipino Women Migrant Workers Association - Hong Kong (FILWOM-HK)
Foundation for Women, Thailand
Friends of Bethune House (FBH), Hong Kong
GABRIELA Hong Kong
GABRIELA Philippines
Good Shepherd Sisters, Malaysia
Health Equity Initiatives (HEI), Malaysia
Housing Rights Task Force, Cambodia
Human Rights & Legal Aid (LHRLA) Pakistan
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB)
Human Security Alliance (HSA)
International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF)
IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
INFID (International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development)
Institute for National and Democratic Studies (INDIES)
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Indonesia
JERIT, Malaysia
Karmojibi Nari , Bangladesh
Kalyanamitra, Indonesia
Kav La'Oved , Israel
Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center
Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilu (Independent Committee for Election Monitoring), Indonesia
Lawyers for Human Rights & Legal Aid (LHRLA) Pakistan
Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), Cambodia
LLG Cultural Development Centre, Malaysia
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
Malaysian Election Observers Network (MEO-Net)
MakeItfair
MAP Foundation, Thailand
Maquila Solidarity Network, Canada
May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights, NY-USA
Migrant CARE, Indonesia
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
Migrant Trade Union, Korea (MTU)
Migrante International
MTUC (Malaysian Trade Union Congress)
National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders, Nepal
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)
National League For Democracy (Liberated Area )[ NLD(LA)], Malaysia
Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSWO)
Peduli Buruh Migran, Indonesia
Penang Watch, Malaysia
People's Green Coalition
Pergerakan Indonesia
Perkumpulan PRAXIS, Indonesia
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti, Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
Pinatud a Saleng ti Umili (PSU)
Pusat KOMAS, Malaysia
Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
Sedane Labour Resource Center/(Lembaga Informasi Perburuhan Sedane), Indonesia
Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI)
Shan Women Action Network (SWAN), Thailand
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Solidaritas Perempuan (Women's Solidarity for Human Rights), Indonesia
SOS(Save Ourselves), Malaysia
Suaram, Malaysia
Tenaganita, Malaysia
Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR)
The Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec, Canada
The GoodElectronics Network
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
Think Centre (Singapore)
UNI Apro, Singapore
UNI Global Union
UNIMIG (Union Migrant Indonesia)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
United Pangasinan in Hong Kong (UPHK)
Urban Community Mission (UCM Jakarta), Indonesia
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
WARBE Development Foundation, Bangladesh
Women Forum for Women, Nepal
Women Legal BUREAU, Philippines
WOREC, Nepal
Workers Assistance Center, Inc (WAC), Philippines
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)
 War on Want , United Kingdom
Yasanti
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA (Batam Indonesia)