Friday, October 28, 2011

MTUC needs to reclaim the respect of this government, and as such November 3 is very important

It is interesting how Malaysia's BN government seems to be ignoring MTUC and workers of Malaysia. The threat to have a nationwide picket on 3/11/2011 seem not to evoke any response from the government. Compared to the BERSIH's protest or the HINDRAF's or the REFORMASI, the response of the Malaysian government seem to be 'silent ignoring' of yet another mass rally in Malaysia. 

Why? Maybe, the Malaysian government do not believe that the MTUC and/or the trade union movement is a threat - and that they have become a toothless tiger with no capacity to bring large number of workers sufficient for the government to sit up and take notice... but MTUC, the big organization with over 800,000 members is not to looked down - they have chosen to be 'diplomatic' choosing to resolve issues through negotiations in closed door meetings with the government for a long time, and even just getting a small representation of about 200 for its last protest at the Parliament on 3/10/2011, but maybe now this sleeping giant will wake up and show this government that they indeed do have 'teeth' and should be given due respect by the BN government and the Human Resource Minister. 

[Remember the HR Minister pushed for the amendments in reliance of one alleged request of one dying trade union(NUPW), which maybe may have 10,000 members, a requests made sometime in 1997 which really is about something else - without even considering that MTUC was strongly against it. (see Employment Amendments - All about making labour suppliers employers - not about protecting 'contract worker' rights]

What the Minister did was a slap on the face of workers and the MTUC - in fact, based on earlier reports, this HR Minister allegedly told MTUC that there is still time and that he will move the Bill only at the end of the month, and then pushed it through 3 days later..see Said end of the month, but on 6/10/2011 they passed Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011]

MTUC needs to reclaim the respect of this government, and as such November 3 is very important. If MTUC nationwide protests only see small numbers then all may be lost - and in the eyes of this government, MTUC, trade unions and workers will remain a 'toothless tiger'. I would look at what happened over the years that has reduced the workers and the trade union movement to their current state - showing the role the government played in this.

It is essential now that MTUC goes to ground and mobilize significant number of workers, not just members of their member unions but all workers (including future workers0 for MTUC is still the de facto leader and representative of all workers in Malaysia...and that is over 10,000,000 workers...Time is running out and MTUC needs to mobilize...All the different factions must put aside their differences and come together to defeat this amendment which would lead to discrimination, affect workers rights, and certainly further weaken unions in Malaysia.

MTUC warns Najib labour law battle will go on to polls

October 28, 2011

MTUC members protest amendments to the Employment Act, outside Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, October 3, 2011. — Picture by Choo Choy May
SUBANG JAYA, Oct 28 — The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) warned Datuk Seri Najib Razak today that the votes of 5.7 million workers “could decide matters” on polling day unless labour law changes that could affect job security and workers’ rights are withdrawn. 

The umbrella body, which comprises 390 of the 692 labour unions and a total of 802,323 members, said in a press conference today that “we are non-partisan, but our battle will have to go on” against amendments to the Employment Act passed on October 6 which it has called “a return to slavery.”

“We call on the prime minister to hear our calls that have become shouts and screams on behalf of 5.7 million voters. There are 5.7 million workers who are registered workers. That is our signal to him,” general secretary Abdul Halim Mansor told reporters today.

The MTUC affirmed today that its nationwide picket in at least 20 locations on November 3 continues “an ongoing action” against legislation that it says will “green light investors to hire Malaysians as contract workers instead of permanent staff.”

It said this will encourage companies to outsource more of labour requirements, handing over responsibility over rights and benefits such as social security and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions to third-party contractors who “can escape easily when business goes bad.”

The MTUC had first protested the amendments on October 3, drawing hundreds of workers to the gates of Parliament.

Najib tabled his Budget 2012 proposals earlier this month that provided cash handouts and an extra one per cent employers’ contribution to the pension fund for those earning up to RM5,000 a month, which covers most of MTUC’s members.

His government has also promised to implement a minimum wage policy by end-2011 but Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have already pledged a national minimum of RM1,100 and support for the union’s protest against labour law changes.

Najib is expected to hold a general election soon, after announcing RM4.5 billion in direct assistance to citizens and pay hikes for some 1.3 million civil servants for next year’s Budget. - Malaysian Insider, 28/10/2011, MTUC warns Najib labour law battle will go on to polls

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