Sunday, October 23, 2011

Employment Amendments - All about making labour suppliers employers - not about protecting 'contract worker' rights

Interestingly the Minister gives us the impression that he is acting at the request of the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW) to prevent abuses faced by workers in the plantation sector...and in Parliament he tells us about a paper presented by the said NUPW at the ILO-Asia Pacific Regional Seminar in New Delhi in 1997 (hello that is about 18 years ago... and can we see the paper, Minister) and then he talks about ILO Resolutions in 1997 and 1998 about 'contract workers' - I am sure that they are not at all talking about the proposed changes of employment relationship in Malaysia which is the main objection to the proposed amendments something that became important to ILO that resulted in a passing of an ILO Resolution in 2006 only...

Pindaan ini telah dicadang dan disokong oleh National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW) yang mana amalan membekalkan pekerja oleh kontraktor tenaga kerja memang sedia berlaku sejak dahulu sehingga kini terutama di sektor perladangan. NUPW semasa membentangkan kertas kerja di ILO-Asia Pacific Regional Seminar di New Delhi, pada tahun 1997 menyatakan bahawa pendaftaran kontraktor tenaga kerja akan dapat meningkatkan ketelusan dalam sistem ini, memudahkan urusan penguatkuasaan undang-undang buruh, dapat mengurangkan insiden-insiden penindasan hak-hak pekerja yang dibekalkan oleh kontraktor tenaga kerja tersebut.

Pertubuhan Buruh Antarabangsa (ILO) pada tahun 1997 dan 1998 juga telah membincangkan isu contract labour dengan panjang lebar dan telah mencadangkan konvensyen dan recommendation mengenai contract labour. Antara lain, cadangan konvensyen tersebut menggariskan tanggungjawab negara-negara anggota ILO untuk mempromosikan hak sama rata di antara contract labour dengan pekerja-pekerja yang lain. Oleh yang demikian, cadangan pindaan ini adalah selaras dengan saranan ILO demi melindungi hak dan kepentingan golongan pekerja yang digaji melalui sistem ini.
I have not seen NUPW come out and confirm that they did request the Minister do this.... and is NUPW still alive and active anymore. I believe that they are no more in MTUC and to many they have become 'dormant'...Remember that the organization that represents workers in Malaysia is the MTUC and they are protesting the amendment...

Anyway, this amendment is not confined to workers in the plantation sector only but will affect all workers in Malaysia - not just in the private sector but also the government/public sector. [Remember, they can amend specific provisions with regard to workers in specific sectors - eg. there is one section on Domestic Workers in the Act now...]

Soon you will have workers working in the Ministry of Human Resources who are not government employees - but employees of some ABC Sdn Bhd (a 'contractor for labour'). That is the future scenario - and when that does happen then, our BN government will just turn around and say that the Malaysian Employment Act allows that.....

And, Mr Minister - the issue is not about protection of contract workers rights for there is no need for this for the rights of all workers including contract workers are already protected by the Employment Act .... there is no need for amendments...

Contract workers - well are not all workers contract workers? Or are you referring to to just those workers on fixed-term or short-term contracts, as compared to workers with security of tenure until retirement....anyway, all these workers rights are already protected by the Employment Act - no need for amendment...

The only purpose of this amendment is (1) to create 'contractors for labour', and legitimize 'illegal' outsourcing labour and/or labour supplier companies, and to (2) make these suppliers of workers into employers, whilst removing the employer obligations from principals/end-users/owner-operators of factories, plantations and workplace ...

{the problem with the Malay language is that both the word 'worker' and 'employee' when translated is 'pekerja' - so if people are debating in parliament, it can be misleading and confusing - ....

33a. (1) A contractor for labour who intends to supply or undertakes to supply any employee shall register with the Director General in the prescribed form within fourteen days before supplying the employee.
All employment agencies, labour suppliers or even 'contractors for labour' were restricted to supplying workers (not their employees) to principals (or end-users or owner-operator of workplaces) then it will be OK.... If the government is concerned - an obligation could be placed on these employment agencies, labour suppliers or even 'contractors for labour' to INFORM the DG of any workers supplied and to whom....

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) will hold a nationwide protest next month against what it calls the “legalisation” of modern-day slavery.

This follows a provision in the recently passed Employment (Amend-ment) Act that allows lea­sing of staff.

MTUC deputy president Mohd Jafar Abdul Majid said workers risk being victimised under the new provision in the Act.

“Allowing companies to source workers through suppliers also pose socio-economic hazards.

“We strongly object to such practices, which promote modern-day slavery,” he said.

Mohd Jafar said it was a matter of grave concern as the rights of workers would be eroded.

“They (the sourced workers) cannot secure permanent jobs and they cannot join unions as they are not directly employed by the company.

“They may also find it difficult to secure bank loans for housing and other purposes, as it would not be clear if their real employer is the supplier or the company that hired them,” he said.

He also questioned how the authorities would stop the suppliers from tapping into the workers’ earnings.

Mohd Jafar said the MTUC welcomes amendments in the Act that benefit the workers but is “fiercely against” the particular provision that erodes the rights of workers.

He said although the amendment had been passed in Parliament, the Human Resources Minister could use his discretion to postpone the implementation.

Mohd Jafar said MTUC will proceed with its plan to hold a nation-wide protest on Nov 3 if the authorities continue to turn a deaf ear to the matter.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam had said the amendment to the Act enabled registration of third-party labour suppliers so that action could be taken against any mistreatment of outsourced labour.

The Employment (Amendment) Bill was originally tabled in Parliament in July last year but withdrawn to further refine the amendments.

It was re-tabled at the Dewan Rakyat recently and passed.

The amendments, among others, defined the role of the contractor for labour (to clarify the relationship between principal, contractor and sub-contractors who supply labour), special provisions to address sexual harassment at the workplace, payment for overtime and work on rest days and public holidays.

The amendments also provide for payment of wages, including for maids through bank accounts, and maternity leave benefits for all female employees. - Star, 17/10/2011,MTUC protests ‘legalisation’ of modern-day slavery

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