Monday, December 06, 2010


Media Statement


An employer must employ directly all workers that work for them – and not use workers of some other ‘middle person’. Wages should be paid directly through the workers that work by the employer who is the owner of the factory or business where the workers work, and not through some ‘middle man’. When employers pay through ‘middle man’, workers will definitely get less after the ‘middle man’ takes his/her cut. MTUC advocates for direct employment.

The government must ensure that all employers do employ all workers that work for them, and not avoid obligations and duties of an employer by resorting to using ‘outsourced’ workers supplied by some ‘contractor of labour’. The employment relationship must be between the employer and the worker, and there must be no middle-man involved. Whilst, it is acceptable to use ‘head hunters’ and employment agencies to help find workers for employers, who then employ them directly as their workers, it is not right to use workers of some other at your places of business.

The usage of workers of some ‘middle man’/contractor of labour/ labour outsourcing company is also detrimental to workers, especially their rights of association and collective bargaining. In collective bargaining, amongst the issues often discussed is about improved working conditions and occupational safety and health, and workers employed by some ‘middle man’ are deprived of this right for their employer really has no control and/or duty in law with regard to workplace conditions.

The increased usage by employers of workers of some other employer is also detrimental to local unions, who find their effective bargaining power is reduced, and hence their ability to negotiate better rights and conditions of employment.  

Sadly, the Malaysian government tried to legalize the “middle man” in an employment relationship through  D.R.25/2010 Employment (Amendment) Bill 2010, that was tabled in Parliament in July 2010. The proposed amendments, defined  “contractor for labour” to mean a person who contracts with a principal, contractor or sub-contractor to supply the labour required for the execution of the whole or any part of any work which a contractor or sub-contractor has contracted to carry out for a principal or contractor, as the case may be;’

By reason of public protests, including objections from MTUC, the government did listen to the people and withdrew this Bill. 

While the withdrawal of the Bill is applauded, MTUC is still concerned that this may be just temporary, as the Human Re­­sources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam was reported to have said the bill was withdrawn to enable the ministry to initiate changes and add more amendments.(Star,13/10/2010, Employment Bill withdrawn). The Minister was reported to have stated that this Bill will be re-tabled during this sitting of the Parliament.

To reassure the Malaysian people, MTUC urges the Malaysian government to publicly declare that it is pro-people and pro-workers by assuring us that they will not try to re-introduce again the ‘middle man’ in an employment relationship. We call upon the Malaysian government also to abolish all existing ‘contractors of labour’, known also as ‘labour outsourcing companies’. 

We urge the government to commit to the propagation of direct employment that is permanent in nature, and oppose all forms of precarious employment, including fixed duration short-term contracts. The welfare of the people, which includes the over 11 million workers and their families, should be the priority of a caring government.

Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud,
Presiden, MTUC
18 November 2010

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