Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Did Abdullah Sani 'lie'/fail, or did Dr Mahathir shun MTUC's and Worker's Struggle?

Sad day for workers and trade unions, as the turnout for the May Day Rally, which was projected to reach 10-20 thousands was less than 1 thousand.(one paper said only 200??)

What happened to Dr Mahathir? What happened to the 19,000 plus who failed to turn up to the MTUC May Day Rally? Remember, it was the Acting President who told the media 

In announcing Mahathir’s participation, MTUC acting president Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid told reporters that the rally would demand better treatment for workers nationwide, irrespective of whether they are foreign or local.

"Our demands include the setting of the monthly minimum wage to RM1,200, maintaining the EPF (Employees Provident Fund) withdrawal age at 55 and further study on the impact of the goods and services tax (GST) on the rakyat," he said.

“We hope to get an attendance of between 10,000 and 20,000 people at the rally....
Quizzed further on Mahathir’s presence, MTUC secretary-general N Gopal Kishnam said the union hopes he would share his contributions towards workers in the country during his tenure as prime minister.

MTUC May Day Rally with Dr.M at Wisma MTUC - expected 20,000?

So, what happened with Dr Mahathir? Did he change his mind about promoting and protecting worker rights? I wonder... His absence, and the absence of 19 thousand of workers is sadly a bad reflection on Acting President Abdullah Sani... who also happened to be a Member of Parliament? Did he also not have the 'attraction' and/or support of workers in his own constituency? 

MTUC needs to be careful not make claims to the public the media ...and then be shown to have not delivered. It weakens not just MTUC but also other Unions..

There were 2 May Day programs, one organised by Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC), the body that is the 'official' representative of all workers and trade unions in Malaysia as far as the Malaysian government is concerned, and as far as the International Labour Organisation(ILO) is concerned.

The other program was in Kuala Lumpur, a march which was organised by several civil society and non-governmental organisations. Interestingly, this program seem to have seen a greater participation compared to the program organised by MTUC.

MTUC has 240 member trade unions (MTUC Website), and as such, even if 10 members per Union, there would have been at least about 2,500. But, this is trade unions - so one will expect so much more workers to turn up on this important gathering. So, why did so few turn up? Have the trade unions in Malaysia no support from its own members? The low turn-out also questions MTUC's credibility as the representative of Malaysian workers and trade unions..

Such events is an OPPORTUNITY to demonstrate the strength and solidarity of Malaysian workers and trade unions, which is very important when it comes to dealing with not just the EMPLOYER but also the GOVERNMENT. The objective is to show that TRADE UNIONS do not just have 'paper membership' but have an active membership committed to worker and trade union rights. DO NOT VIOLATE WORKER RIGHTS - FOR WE ARE MANY AND OUR UNIONS ARE STRONG, AND WE WILL FIGHT FOR WORKER AND TRADE UNION RIGHTS...

The state of the Trade Unions in Malaysia is disturbing - hence, even the Malaysian Government shows little 'respect' or regard to their views. A nationwide protest and handing over of memorandums will have little effect on the government because the government just do not believe that MTUC and/or Trade Unions have the support of the nearly 13 million workers in the country. Likewise, employers also are becoming 'less worried' of trade unions.

TRUE, Malaysian laws and policies do not favour the promotion and respect of worker rights. The government recently passed a law that allows employers to delay payment of overtime payments, etc by ONE month - and there was little protest about this. So overtime this month, which was paid usually at the end of the month with basic wages - can now be delayed a further month. Remember, if a worker gets his money one month earlier, even putting that sum in a bank will earn him/her interest...

Delaying payment of overtime and allowances by a month, also affects the workers ability to leave employers. Why? To leave now, means I may never get the overtime payment and/or other allowances. Does this new law make Malaysian workers 'BONDED LABOUR'? Something to think about...   


NOT ATTRACTIVE - Well, calling workers to gather to listen to the Acting President, Scretary General and MB Azmin Ali speak on a public holiday is certainly not at all 'attractive' to me... Why call Azmin Ali - has he done anything for workers even in Selangor? Well, if Azmin allowed the gathering to be held in PJ Civic Centre free of charge or some other field/hall/stadium under State Government control, it would be maybe OK to give him a chance to speak...

More workers may have turned out if it was more attractive and participative ...  Maybe some prominent worker leader of past...but do we have anyone like that? Maybe, if there was nore activities - sporting events, picnics, group activities and discussions - maybe even sharings from recent worker 'heroes'...or current worker issues..

Well, who may be 'worker heroes'  and good examples '

1 - The workers who picketed in front of BAT - well they got arrested for making noise BUT they came out again and picketed at the same location after that, and that took GUTS... SYABAS - a great demonstration of struggling on without fear or favour? That is the kind of workers we need for the success of worker struggles... we fight on no matter what...

2. NUFAM - well, this Union has continuously been vocal and fighting hard for the workers in MAS...compared to even that big in-house union called MASEU.. comparatively NUFAM stands out as a UNION taking the fight into the public arena...and using the media as much as possible... {Other Unions shy away from a'public struggle' - chosing rather to complain to some government department about the employer's alleged that the way a UNION fights... well, any worker, even those without Unions, can lodge complaints in government, ask yourself, is this how a UNION fights and struggles for worker rights...?

3 - NUBE - well, for me, that may be best national Union for this period - their struggles were not only on every issue even when rights violations even involved just one worker, like the alleged harrassment. Their struggle involved members in the fight... they got members to picket...They could also be said to be very creative - using even the YouTUBE - In so doing, NUBE leaders did not fight alone but with their members... something that many UNIONs are forgetting - now many Unions fight is done by leaders alone...not with members.. The NUBE example of struggle needs to be followed by other UNIONs... Remember, just filing complaints in government department is not the way a UNION fights ...such 'complaint filing'  should always be the very last resort - when the fight between the UNION and employer is getting no fact, the fight with the Employer in the public arena needs to continue until the dispute is resolved...

4 - WESTERN REGION ELECTRONICS UNION  - well, they achieved a great success in the Union Busting case...

The MTUC May Day rally - officiated by Selangor menteri besar Mohamed Azmin Ali - saw participation from some 200 workers representing member unions, including the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), National Union of Bank Employees, as well as the National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers.
Others may have been there...maybe in too small numbers so as not to be noticed by the media... well NUBE was there...and National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers - being the Union of Syed Shahir, the former President MTUC, and Gopal, the present Secretary General of MTUC. Well, was Abdullah Sani's Union - the Club Employees Union there? 

NUFAM - well, interesting. NUFAM's application to be a member of MTUC was turned down (or has it already been accepted) - but still they do turn up in numbers for MTUC May Day gatherings... 



This is my personal opinion... what do you think?

'Impossible' to reach high-income nation status by 2020: MTUC

Alyaa Alhadjri Published     Updated

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today warned that it would be impossible for Malaysia to achieve a high-income nation status by the Year 2020, unless the national minimum wage is increased annually by RM1,000 from this year onwards.

From July 1, the minimum wage will range from RM920 to RM1000.

MTUC secretary-general N Gopal Kishnam said this was based on figures quoted by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in his speech to launch the National Transformation Programme 2015 last week.

“Based on the figures, the average monthly income per person is about RM3,000. To reach a high-income nation status, the average must be raised to at least RM5,000.

“So definitely we can’t achieve the target,” he said.

In his speech, Najib had said that the national per capita income has increased from RM28,000 in 2010 to over RM36,000 last year.

Gopal Kishnam, however, noted how studies have shown that 65 percent of Malaysian families are living on a monthly household income of approximately RM3,500.

"An annual increment of between three per cent and five per cent does not commensurate with the 20 percent to 30 percent increase in cost of living," said Gopal Kishnam during his speech at MTUC's annual May Day Rally at its headquarters in Subang Jaya this morning.

"The government has also announced developments of affordable homes priced at up to RM400,000…a worker will need to earn approximately RM10,000 a month to afford monthly instalments on a 90 percent loan for such houses,” he said.

On the new minimum wage effective July 1, Gopal Kishnam said MTUC is standing by its demand that all workers should receive a minimum wage of RM1,200.

“It is good that they (the government) have abolished the guideline on implementation of minimum wage. There is also no difference between foreign and local workers.

“But at the same time, we (MTUC) are still demanding for RM1,200 as the minimum wage for all workers,” he stressed.

In unveiling Budget 2016 last year, Najib had announced that the minimum wage in Peninsular Malaysia will go up from RM900 to RM1,000, while the minimum wage in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan will go up from RM800 to RM920.The minimum wage for civil servants will also go up to RM1,200, while minimum pension will be RM950.

Other union leaders who took to the stage included MTUC acting president Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, MTUC former president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud and MTUC former secretary-general Halim Mansor.

The MTUC May Day rally - officiated by Selangor menteri besar Mohamed Azmin Ali - saw participation from some 200 workers representing member unions, including the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), National Union of Bank Employees, as well as the National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers.

Read more:

Interestingly, the other May Day event got more media coverage...

Malaysia: Hundreds of workers march in May Day rally to demand better wages

Asian Correspondent - ‎2 hours ago‎
DEMANDING better working wages and conditions, several hundreds of protesters marched in a peaceful rally in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur this morning. The crowd had gathered outside a shopping mall called Maju Junction this morning in a bid ...

On May Day, demonstrators rally in city for higher floor wage (VIDEO)

Malay Mail Online - ‎5 hours ago‎
Rally participants hold a banner outside Maju Junction Mall in Kuala Lumpur May 1, 2016. — Picture by Kamles KumarKUALA LUMPUR, May 1 — Some 100 people dressed in red shirts or bandanas have gathered outside the Maju Junction Mall here ...

Crowd gathers as May Day rally kicks off

The Star Online - ‎4 hours ago‎
KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds gathered for the May Day rally at Maju Junction here to fight for the cause of workers nationwide. The primary agenda of the day was to push for a minimum wage increase from the existing RM900 to RM1,500. There were also ...

Poor turnout at May 1 rally without politicians

Free Malaysia Today - ‎2 hours ago‎
KUALA LUMPUR: Some 500 people gathered in the city centre today for the May 1 workers' day rally. The rally, organised by some 70 non-governmental organisations, activist groups and political parties, started outside the Maju Junction Mall at 9am.

On May Day, demonstrators rally in KL for higher floor wage

TODAYonline - ‎2 hours ago‎
... bandanas gathered in the federal capital here demanding a higher minimum wage of RM1,500 (S$515) for workers, in conjunction with Labour Day on Sunday (May 1). The rally, jointly organised by some 70 groups, including Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), ...

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