Thursday, April 30, 2015

Employment Security not 'job security', Direct employment Relationship, Regular employment until retirement?

EMPLOYMENT SECURITY - this means regular employment until retirement (there can still be retrenchment, dismissal for serious disciplinary reasons, resignation of the employee) - Malaysian labour legislation foresee this as the norm - whereby there are provisions for increasing entitlements as number of years of employment increases - annual leave, sick leave, etc. Even the formula for termination/lay off benefits provided for in the Employment Act provides for higher benefits if you have been in employment for a longer period (but no such benefits if your period of employment is less than a year - an indicator that Malaysia really is no for short-term contract or other forms of precarious forms of employment.)

JOB SECURITY - here the obligation is shifted to government to make sure that there will be jobs available if and when you are out of a job. The 'Job Security' guarantee is something which businesses are pushing for in their quest to be able to easily 'hire and fire', avoid statutory obligations of increasing worker entitlements, remuneration, even employer obligations - also as a means to avoid unions and strong workers. Well, short-term employees really will not have the time to form, register, get recognition of their unions or even enter into any Collective Bargaining Agreements. The fact that the employment relationship is now only for a year or less - employers can also easily get rid of  'trouble-maker' unions. This also allows for the creation and propagation of an afraid, compliant workforce - who will be easily exploitable. Will a worker in these precarious forms of employment relationship say 'NO' to overtime or 'excessive overtime'? Will they stand up for their rights? 

The Malaysian worker needs EMPLOYMENT SECURITY NOT Job Security - i.e. regular employment until retirement. This is more so needed, when today most workers are burdened with loans (housing loans, car loans, furniture/household appliance loans, etc) - and a loss of employment puts the worker and their families is serious jeopardy of sliding into great financial problems and difficulties.

With EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, there is generally an assurance of steady income ...and increasing income as years go by. If a worker finds himself out of a job in a year - because his employment relationship was based on just a 1-year precarious employment contract - then the question is whether he will be able to get another job with the same pay...(or more), For the professional and the highly skilled worker who are in demand, the chances are there are employers out there will to pay them the same or even more - but alas for the ordinary worker, things are bleak. 

As age advances, the chances of getting a job becomes slimmer. If one were pregnant, the chances of getting work is almost zero - who wants to hire you for a year or two, and allow you to be away for maternity leave.

It is true for certain industries, the option of regular employment until retirement is generally not there - for work really is until the building project is done - no, really until the particular phase of the building project is done - a painter will only be needed when painting starts and completes. But for all other businesses, regular employment until retirement is best - but alas, the Malaysian government over the years have failed to ensure the right to regular employment.

In fact, the Malaysian government have even been promoting the avoidance of DIRECT EMPLOYMENT - allowing businesses use workers at their factories and workplaces - who are not considered employees of the businesses that own and operate the workplaces. The said businesses still supervise and control the work done by the workers - but consider themselves not their employers. It is called the Contractor for Labour System - and despite the opposition of unions and civil society, this government has done nothing to abolish it. 

In 2011, 115 groups said 'NO' to labour law amendments ..and the protest continues

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. 


93 Groups:- Abolish the ‘Contractor for Labour’ system Withdraw the 2012 amendments to Employment Act 1955.

93 - Mansuhkan Sistem ‘Contractor for Labour’ Tarikbalik pindaan 2012 kepada Akta Kerja 1955.

MTUC calls for the abolition of the 'labour supplier system'

Malaysian Bar Resolution on Employment Relationship and 'Contractor For Labour' (2012)

(1) That the Malaysian government immediately repeal the amendments to the Employment Act 1955 with regard to the employment relationship and the contractor for labour, introduced vide Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011, and pending repeal not put into effect the said amendments.

(2) That the Malaysian government do the needful to maintain existing 2-party employment relationships between principals or owners of workplaces as employers, and workers that work in the said workplaces as employees of the said principals and owners.

(3) That the Malaysian government promotes and protect worker and trade union rights in Malaysia, and not permit any form or discrimination at the workplace or related to work amongst workers doing the same work and/or working at workplaces of principals or owners.

(4) The Malaysian Bar takes the stand 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 or owners. Thereafter, these workers shall be employees of the principal or owners of the workplace.

(5) That the Malaysian Bar continues to struggle for the promotion and protection of worker and trade union rights in Malaysia, including for just employment relationship, basic living wages and freedom of association consistent with the Principles of Decent Work and other universally recognised standards and principles.

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