Monday, December 30, 2019

MTUC - Why Registrar of Societies(not Registrar of Trade Unions)? No protest from Trade Unions and workers? -SUSPENSION why?

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) - Why is the Registrar of Societies(ROS) involved, when should it not be the Registrar of Trade Unions? Well, it is all because of the British colonial government - divide and weaken trade union policy done through a new law in the 1940s ...which after MERDEKA, the UMNO-MCA-MIC government (then the Barisan Nasional Government) chose to keep this bad law that effectively weakened workers, trade unions and the labour movement in Malaysia...And our former governments in fact by amendments in law, simply continued to weaken trade unions...and workers...

In Malaya, over 50% of workers were unionized, and they were active not just championing worker rights - but also fighting for human rights and also for our Independence ...

The British colonial government's interest then was to protect employers and their businesses - and many of this was owned and controlled by the British..{Interestingly, the laws in Britain or the UK was not similarly changed compared to what they did in Malaya...}


By law, they allowed ONLY one union per industry, sector, occupation and workplace ...Before this, there was no such restrictions and there were many Unions that had worker members from various different industries/sectors/occupations/workplaces ...they had also members from public sector and private sector. The law also did not allow for Federations of Trade Unions coming from different sectors/industries...etc so, even a Federation of Trade Unions like our Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) could not be registered under the Trade Union law ...because it violated the Trade Union law that did not allow trade unions of different sectors/industry/occupation/workplaces and the private sector/public sector to even come together to form a Federation of Trade Unions... hence MTUC had to be registered as a 'society' - Will Pakatan Harapan now remove all these bad laws left behind by the British(then the BN) that keeps workers and the trade unions weak...

Read earlier post:-

The state of the labour movement in Malaysia (Part 1)

The origins of the labour movement in M’sia (Part 2 of a series)

How the British suppressed the Malayan labour movement (Part 3)

The last breath of the labour movement?(Part 4)

Ever since MERDEKA, the UMNO-led coalition government further eroded away worker rights 

Read earlier post:- 

Worker and Trade Union Rights in BN-ruled Malaysia - A pro-business government that undermined worker rights, welfare and livelihood -

A few recent actions of the BN government that further weakened worker and trade union rights...include 

- Allowing employers to delay payment of overtime, work on rest days/public holidays by a month...For lower income workers, there is a serious impact on the economy...One month delay for monthly waged workers with no interest...which would have been gained by the workers if they put in banks for a month...

- Introducing the 'Contractor For Labour' system ...allowing employers to avoid Employer-Employee relationship, and hence employer obligations can be extinguished for many of their workforce by simply not employing but just enter a contract for labour supply with these 'contractor for labour'. It allowed for discrimination of workers - employees would generally enjoy better wages and rights compared to the 'non-employees' supplied by these contractor for labour who do exactly the same work...or even more? Of course that system automatically weakens the bargaining power of employees and their union - as employer depends less and less on employees ...when they can get labour through 'non-employees' supplied by third party contractors. 

Nampaknya kerajaan PH tidak prihatin terhadap pekerja sama saperti UMNO-BN? Majikan tempat kerja harus satu-satu majikan semua pekerja yang kerja di tempat kerja?


- FAILURE to stop the trend of short-term employment contracts - usually not more than 1 year. The government could have made use that all workers are employed as REGULAR employees but the then BN government did not.. Increasing RETIREMENT AGE - this certainly will not benefit 'short-term contract' employees...who also are deprived of the RIGHT to wage and rights increment with tenure...they also are deprived of TERMINATION and/or LAY-OFF Benefits as only workers who have worked for more than 12 months get this..

- Then there was the BIGGEST Union Busting Actions and 'violation' of worker rights..
- When an owner of a company, forms another company and then transfers assets/business to a new company - shuts down 1st company terminate all workers, and re-hires NEW workers, it is UNJUST ...and normally workers having claims against 1st company will be able to claim against that NEW company - but the BN government passed a LAW which said new company not liable for debts and/or obligations of 1st company even to workers...This happened with Malaysian Airlines. That action will result in the death of all in-house trade unions in the 1st company - the only trade union that survived was the National Trade Union representing Flight Attendants - Pakatan Harapan new government should have at least amended that law and allow workers to be the exception...i.e. their claims will still be covered by the NEW Company and/or the OWNER...There are still workers and trade unions, expending monies and time, fighting their cases including claims for wrongful dismissal..
- When 1st company no more - in-house trade unions have to again organize and form trade unions in the new company - Is there any NEW in-house Trade Union in Malaysian Airlines? If no, why? 

MALAYSIAN TRADE UNION CONGRESS(MTUC) does not even have as members ALL the registered Trade Unions in Malaysia - it only has about less than 30%...or is it about 220 Trade Unions?

Did the Trade Unions and/or workers in Malaysia chose MTUC as their representative to deal with the government or be in the ILO(International Labour Organisation) - NO THEY DID NOT - MTUC is workers' representative simply because the government chose them - they are a POLITICAL APPOINTEE...that's all...maybe we need a democratically elected worker representative in Malaysia.

A 'political appointee' of the government also makes MTUC or any other workers' representative very weak... 

Remember in 1990, when after the MTUC backed several candidates for the General Elections, the government reacted by removing MTUC as the workers' representative - this can be done with a 'political appointee' NEVER a democratically elected representative. MTUC also lost its position/s on the EPF and SOCSO Boards, ...I believe. Being a 'political appointee' has kept MTUC very WEAK...and maybe even its member unions weak...

In July 1990, the Mahathir-led government approved the formation of the Malaysian Labour Organisation (MLO) to weaken MTUC after MTUC took a controversial move by fielding its own candidates in the 1990 general election. - Malaysiakini,

How many Trade Unions have spoken out and protested the 'suspension' of MTUC? Too scared...or really 'very weak' trade unions....Why? A mystery indeed...

MTUC seems to be concerned more about the Industrial Court cases BUT the most important avenue for justice for workers is the Labour Office(HR Office) and the Labour Courts - where most workers will have to go to claim their worker rights - from unpaid wages, unpaid OT, unpaid medical leave, failure to pay termination/lay-off benefits, failure to award payments as per employment contracts and even Collective Bargaining agreements..

On the other hand, as far as workers are concerned - they only deal with cases where workers are claiming wrongful dismissal and REINSTATEMENT - if not claiming for reinstatement, then the proper venue is the Labour Department and Labour Courts. Major problem today is that many Trade Unionist(or Trade Union Representatives) are charging worker victims FEEs - where is the solidarity amongst workers - for Unions and/or representatives should be acting for(or representing) dismissed workers for FREE - maybe unions should also help financially these dismissed workers...not 'squeezing' money from victimized workers...Some trade union reps are charging workers(who lost their jobs claiming reinstatement) fees ranging from RM5,000 - RM10,000 - This is atrocious...

MTUC President was reported saying...'The continuous suspension of Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) by the Registrar of Society (ROS) will further impact the workers who were awarded more than RM1 million in total compensations by the Industrial Court. ..MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansor (above) said in cases, where the workers represented by their trade unions won their suits against their employers in court, the compensation awarded would first be channelled to the bank account of MTUC and then disbursed to the workers.' - ODD, because as a lawyer, such monies would normally directly flow to the clients - the workers concerned - not to the lawyer's account or the MTUC account - 

Maybe, Abdul Halim Mansor, the MTUC President, ought explain - including whether MTUC and/or the Trade Union reps from MTUC are charging these workers monies ...or the nature of the agreement - does MTUC or its representatives take a percentage of the monies due to workers. Lawyers canm charge worker client fees...but sure a Trade Union and/or Trade Union representative should not be charging any fees..

MTUC or any such Federation of Trade Unions should come under the Registrar of Trade Unions - and, not the Registrar of Societies.

Registrar of Societies and/or Registrar of Trade Unions powers should be restricted to registration --- They should not be suspending any Trade Unions - that power should be with the Court ...and only a member/s should have the right to apply to court for any remedy - including temporary suspension or even de-registration...NOT the government...not the Registrars...

We still do not know exactly what resulted in the suspension of MTUC - Did any member complain? What exactly was the nature of the complaint? As mentioned before, the power of suspending any society or trade union should be vested in the Courts ONLY...

The Registrar of Societies 'suspended' MTUC - but where is the notice of suspension and the grounds - has the Registrar even informed the 200 plus member unions and its hundred thousands of members...It must be made public at the very least on the website of the ROS and Ministry of Human Resources...One wonders whether this is a REACTION by this PH Government for the public objections to the recent Industrial Court Act amendment? Is the HR Minister 'punishing' MTUC for its open objections? But the Registrar of Societies is NOT under the HR Minister ...

The SILENCE of the member Trade Unions and workers is most disturbing...Do they even bother if MTUC is suspended or de-registered? Where is the protest...where is the outcry? 

MTUC suspended, fate in RoS’ hands

Sheridan Mahavera
President Abdul Halim Mansor says the MTUC leadership has given a thorough explanation to RoS on the issues that led to its suspension. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, December 26, 2019.
THE Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has been barred from holding meetings, including one on its triennial elections.

This is due to a suspension order by the Registrar of Societies, following a complaint that the influential private workers’ group, which represents 220 unions, did not conduct its bimonthly general council meetings on time.

MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansor said the congress is unable to hold its much-awaited general council meeting on Sunday to discuss its next elections.

He said the suspension is to allow for a RoS probe into the group, which will take one to two weeks.

The investigation will determine whether MTUC had breached its own rules, which would warrant its deregistration, he told a press conference in Subang Jaya today.

“We have appealed to RoS for us to not get deregistered because MTUC is an important institution. 

We sit in all meetings with the government on labour issues, we represent Malaysia in the International Labour Organisation, and we represent workers at the industrial court.

“The RoS director knows this, and will take this into account in their investigation.

“We have asked RoS to expedite their investigation as we want to hold the general council meeting as soon as possible, so that we can plan for the triennial delegates’ council meeting (where the elections will be held).”

If MTUC’s suspension is lifted next month, the earliest it can hold the polls is in March or April, as a notice must be issued 12 weeks ahead.

Halim said the congress’ leadership has given a thorough explanation to RoS on the issues that led to the suspension, with the main one being the claim about general council meetings not being held regularly every two months as stipulated in the MTUC constitution.

The general council is the group’s top decision-making body, and includes representatives from each of the 220 unions.

Halim said 10 general council meetings were held between the beginning of 2017, when the new MTUC leadership took office, and December last year.

In 2018, the congress was taken to court because of a decision made in a general council meeting regarding the membership of certain unions.

“Due to the series of court cases, MTUC was prevented by the court from holding further general council meetings until the cases were settled,” said Halim.

After a written judgment was issued on November 29, he said, the MTUC leadership met and set December 29 for the next general council meeting.

“But because a complaint had already been filed with RoS, and it had ordered MTUC to suspend all meetings, we cannot hold the general council meeting on Sunday.” – December 26, 2019. Malaysian Insight


With suspension, MTUC cannot disburse RM1m compensation to workers

Kow Gah Chie
The continuous suspension of Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) by the Registrar of Society (ROS) will further impact the workers who were awarded more than RM1 million in total compensations by the Industrial Court. 

MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansor (above) said in cases, where the workers represented by their trade unions won their suits against their employers in court, the compensation awarded would first be channelled to the bank account of MTUC and then disbursed to the workers.

However, Abdul Halim told a press conference yesterday, more than RM1 million in compensation payments was stuck in MTUC and could not be issued to the workers as its financial secretary stepped down and has been missing in action since Nov 9.

He said the MTUC's constitution does not authorise the second person to sign the checque on behalf of the financial secretary.
The matter is worsening after MTUC, a coalition of trade unions which represents half a million workers in the country, was temporary suspended on Dec 18 and barred from holding any meeting.

Abdul Halim said MTUC cannot hold a general council meeting, which was originally slated to be held this Sunday (Dec 29) to pick a date for its triennial general assembly and choose a new financial secretary.
Yesterday, Abdul Halim and MTUC secretary-general J Solomon (above) met Selangor ROS director Nurul Azhar Husin for one hour to explain why the union should not be deregistered. 

Abdul Halim said he touched on the workers' plight in their appeal to the ROS and urged ROS to expedite its investigation against the union over mismanagement complaints.

"We appealed to ROS to allow us to conduct a general council meeting so we can (immediately) choose a financial secretary or a temporary financial secretary.

"I would say the (amount of compensation stuck in MTUC) is more than RM1 million because we still receive the money until today," he said.

While it was pointed out that the compensation amount in certain cases could climb up to RM100,000, Abdul Halim said he was more worried about the workers who waited for smaller compensation sums.

Workers told: 'Your money is safe.'

"What worries us is those with small compensations, because they really need the money," he said.

He told these workers: "Your money is still safe in MTUC, I urge (you all) to give us more time."

Abdul Halim said the ROS pledged to complete its probe and make known its findings by early January.

He also pointed out even if MTUC is allowed to conduct a meeting, it would still need a 12-week notice to call for a meeting.

He also said that ROS advised MTUC to amend its constitution to authorise another person to act on behalf of the financial secretary.

In a statement recently, the ROS said it received a complaint on July 2 about mismanagement in MTUC and opened an investigation the following month.

It said that on Dec 18, it issued a notice giving the MTUC 30 days to explain why it should not be deregistered.

ROS later confirmed that it had suspended MTUC to ensure that no other rules were broken by MTUC pending an explanation.

Last week, Sarawak MTUC secretary Andrew Lo made a serious claim that the MTUC had not convened a full general council meeting ever since the elections of the current top officials in 2016.

Another union source also told Malaysiakini that the MTUC leadership had, in fact, received a show-cause letter from the ROS about two months ago for its failure to conduct meetings as prescribed. - Malaysiakini, 27/12/2019

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