Wednesday, March 11, 2015

MTUC Says Employers Must Stop Turning Regular Employees into Precarious Short-Term Contract Employees

Media Statement – 1/3/2015

MTUC Says Employers Must Stop Turning Regular Employees into Precarious Short-Term Contract Employees

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is shocked that some employers are unconscionably ‘forcing’  regular employees until retirement to become precarious short-term contract employees. Workers are literally given no choice in the matter, and threats of termination have apparently been used to compel workers to abandon their existing security and rights as a regular employee.

Many of these workers are without unions, and hence do not have the capacity to resist – and so easily are these individual workers oppressed by such immoral employers. 

In a recent case, that came to the attention of MTUC, some of these were apparently regular employees for over 15 years – and suddenly they have been ‘tricked’ into abandoning their existing better rights as a  regular employee, and accepting precarious short–term employment contracts. In this case, the workers felt that they had no choice but to tender their resignation as directed or ‘ordered’ by their employers, and to thereafter sign new short-term employment contracts. The workers were, of course, afraid of losing their jobs and income if they did not do what they were asked to do, and so many have just signed these letters of resignation, and these new precarious employment agreements. These immoral practices are also happening at other workplaces. Workers are being made to sign agreements where rights and benefits enjoyed before by workers are taken away.

There is currently no effective legal remedy available in the labour laws of Malaysia to stop employers cheating workers out of their rights as secure regular employees – a worker right that is so necessary for the welfare and wellbeing of the worker and their families. Now, after the signing away of their rights, without the benefit of advice from unions or lawyers, it is almost impossible to get justice. If these workers were to resist employer demands, they would most likely be terminated, and the process of claiming reinstatement in Malaysia is just too long and expensive for most workers – and these exploited workers is denied justice. Justice delayed is justice denied.

MTUC urges the Malaysian government to put in place laws that will prevent employers from using any such means or schemes, including agreements, that at the end of the day will result in workers losing better rights they did, or now, enjoy, and ending up with lesser rights. Cheating of workers of their existing better rights must stop. All forms of precarious employment relationship and practices, which make workers more easily exploitable, must also be abolished.

MTUC also calls on workers faced with such threats and pressure to immediately seek advice from MTUC, trade unions or lawyers first. Do not sign any such resignation letters or new employment contracts with first getting legal advice. 

Workers alone can so easily be cheated and oppressed, and it is essential for workers to stand together in solidarity to resist any such cheating or injustice. MTUC calls on all workers in Malaysia to form and join trade unions, and stand together to resist such attempts by employers to cheat and deprive workers of existing better rights like regular employment. 

N. Gopalkishnam
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)

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