Wednesday, February 06, 2013

End all forms of discrimination against workers, based on their nationality, gender and duration of employment contract....



Carrying the torch for foreign labour

PETALING JAYA (Feb 6, 2013): Labour groups from Malaysia and across the region have expressed shock over the government's recent decision that migrant labourers in the country are now required to pay their own levy. 
In a joint statement signed by 67 trade unions and civil society groups, labour activist Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud said all forms of discrimination against workers, based on their nationality, gender and duration of employment contract, among others, must be immediately stopped. 

"We call on the Malaysian government to immediately rescind the decision made by the Malaysian Cabinet, allowing employers to recover the levy which they paid on behalf of the foreign worker, through deducting their wages.

"We take the position that all workers, including migrant workers, are entitled to receive minimum wages which excludes allowances, benefits and other work incentives," said Syed Shahir who is also the National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers executive secretary.

Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had reportedly said that the move, announced in the wake of pressure from employers, will not burden foreign workers as they will only need to pay between RM34.16 and RM154.16 a month, compared with a general salary increase of between RM300 and RM500 a month.

The decision was also made following implementation of a minimum wage policy of RM900 in the peninsula and RM800 in East Malaysia, beginning Jan 1. 

Syed Shahir however noted that there were employers who tried to renege on their obligation to pay a minimum wage, and migrant workers often have no avenue to complain, as they are prevented by law from forming or joining an existing union. 

"Until laws and policies are amended to protect migrant workers' rights, naturally they will become the preferred choice over local workers as they are certainly a more easily exploited class," he claimed.

He said the Malaysian government had also consented to an application from more than 600 employers to delay implementation of the minimum wage order, describing the move as being "blatantly wrong" as it was allegedly done without any consultation with the aggrieved workers or their union. - The SunDaily, 6/2/2013, Carrying the torch for foreign labour


67 groups say Minimum Wage for All - No wage deduction to recover Levy

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