Thursday, September 29, 2011

Workers and MTUC say withdraw or we picket & Minister says we do this because workers requested

It is disturbing that the Human Resource Minister and the BN government just do not want to listen to the people, and in these case the workers in Malaysia represented by the strong position taken by the MTUC, i.e. to picket on 3rd October if the proposed Bill to amend the Employment Act is not withdrawn. See earlier post:- MTUC threatens picket 0n 3rd October ...

The recent statement of the Minister as reported indicates that the BN government may be going to railroad this new Bill this coming parliamentary session beginning 3rd October, 2011. This anti-worker anti-union Bill, which is pro-employer, if passed would end just employment relationships that exists today, and introduce the 3rd party, i.e. the entities now known as the 'outsourcing agents' into the equation, who unlike private employment agencies, will continue to be the employer of the workers that they supply to the principal, i.e. the factories, the plantations and the workplaces. There is no restrictions as to numbers or percentages, and soon the majority of workers in a workplace may no longer be employers of the owner-operator of the workplaces, and they will no longer have the duty and obligation to ensure that rights of workers are protected. Once it becomes law, this practice may extend to all sectors including also the civil service - workers working may finally no longer be civil servants but workers of some 3rd party.

To date, our BN government has already eroded too many worker rights:-

a)  Security of tenure or permanent employment until retirement is gone with the introduction of fixed duration or short-term employment contracts. In fact many who had the security of employment were 'pushed' towards accepting VSS(Voluntary Separation Schemes), whereby many were re-hired on short-term contracts.

b)  For wrongful dismissal, whereby before if the courts come to the conclusion that the worker has indeed been wrongly dismissed, he/she would be reinstated without loss of benefits OR compensated with full salary/benefits for the months he was wrongfully dismissed until the judgment of the court. This was slowly 'taken away' by starting with deducting monies earned in other employment with other employers during the period. Then, they limited the compensation to a maximum of 24 months... and now, there are plans to exclude certain categories of workers from even claiming this, including those workers on fixed term contracts. Wrongful dismissal is wrongful dismissal, and employers who did this must be penalized for this by paying workers full wages (plus benefits) from date of wrongful dismissal until date the court finds for the worker that he/she was wrongfully dismissed. 

c)  Minimum wages - well, the Malaysian BN government is just not interested in this, even though it has been shown that about 30% of Malaysian workers are earning below poverty wages. At the same time, it speedily removes subsidies, introduces new taxes(Good and Services Tax) and allows for the increase of tariffs/rates for toll, electricity, ASTRO,...resulting in an increased cost of living. Again, these actions are evidence of a government not really interested in the welfare of its workers and its people.
We did have a Ministry that was primarily concerned for the welfare of workers - then there was a name change, and it is now called Ministry of Human Resources - and now, it seems to be more concerned for the welfare and well-being of employers - their 'human resource' issues, and making Malaysia attractive for foreign direct investors. I say it is time for us to demand a new Ministry that will focus its attention for the well-being and welfare of workers.

September 28, 2011 19:14 PM

Certain Parties Misunderstood Government's Intention In Amending Employment Act - Subramaniam

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 28 (Bernama) -- Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam has expressed regret that certain parties have misunderstood the government's intention in amending the Employment Act 1955.

He said the decision was made at the request of the workers, in particular the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW), due to "massive abuse of workers in the plantation sector."

"The whole act is to protect workers but unfortunately some see it from a different angle. They said it will formalise outsourcing of labour, and by doing so, reduce permanent jobs," he told a press conference after presenting letters of appointment to members of the National Wages Consultative Council, here today.

He was commenting on MTUC's decision to picket in front of Parliament when it sits on Monday if the government continues with its plans to amend labour laws.

The amendment bill was first tabled in Parliament on July 8, 2010 but was withdrawn on Oct 12, due to last minute views from various parties about amending the term 'sub-contractor for labour' to 'contractor for labour.'

Dr Subramaniam said the situation now was "totally unmanaged," and thus, there had been a lot of abuses on the ground.

"We hope all parties understand this and assist us in this very noble objective of making sure workers get correct representation and their welfare is protected. When we are so positive in our outlook, we actually get hurt when people look at what we are doing from a negative viewpoint," he said.

-- BERNAMA - Bernama, 28/10/2011, Certain Parties Misunderstood Government's Intention In Amending Employment Act - Subramaniam

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