Saturday, December 19, 2015

Union busting in Malaysia - Unions reduced, Union membership declining.

As Malaysia's labour force increases, interestingly the number of trade unions and trade union membership is on the decline - and this is most worrying.

In 2014, there were 735 trade unions but in 2015, there are just 723 trade unions (and this is based on official government statistics, Ministry of Human Resources Statistik Pekerjaan dan Perburuhan Bil 3/2015, September 2015)

And, if we just look at the private sector trade unions, there were 485 in 2014, and 475 in 2015 

In 2014, union members was 930,512 but in 2015, that number had declined to 923,938.- and this statistics was most probably just for the 2nd Quarter, that means end of June, and that this would more likely than not include the about 6,000 MAS employees, many of whom union members, who lost their jobs at end of August 2015. 

Looks like our Minister of Human Resources is successful in reducing unions and its membership - hence making available more 'human resources', free of unions, to the businesses and corporation.

When it was known as Labour Ministry - I have the impression that there was more concern for worker and union rights...but after it became Ministry of 'Human Resources', somehow workers just became a mere 'commodity' - and concern now seem to have shifted to the employer...

Shame on you Malaysia - for this is a very negative development. As the labour force increases and time passes, one would expect more unions and more organized unionized workers in a developing country.

Who is educating workers about 'freedom of association' and the importance of unions? 

Is the Ministry doing anything about this?  I have my doubts - for what we see is procrastination even when workers want to form unions, or get unions recognized...see earlier relevant post:- Fong Khei Por, Malaysia's DGIR, be more efficient and act speedily about Union recognition in Malaysian Airlines?

Is the Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) doing anything about educating workers about organizing workers, unions and union formation? Well, even if it is doing so, it certainly is losing out - MTUC also has failed to even get 50% of Malaysian Trade Unions as their members..., and some Unions that do apply to be members of MTUC find their applications denied.

Of course, with more and more workers being employed on short-term contracts, coupled with slowness the Ministry of Human Resources works, unions are no longer a priority of workers. 

Workers put in an application to form a union, and when they get their registration, their contracts may have ended - and the employer would not extend these contracts even though the work still needs the worker. Preference is to employ a new worker...

Then, with the contractor for labour system, the employer chooses not to employ - but rather use workers supplied by the 'contractor for labour' - hence employer obligations avoided, and being not employees, they cannot join in-house unions. 

They can, of course, join national or regional unions, but they will not be able to enjoy the rights and benefits contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA) - being agreement between employer and unions, concerning ONLY the employer's employees?

Media coverage for union activities is also minimal...

Some Trade Unions are also not functioning as effective trade unions. No regular meeting amongst members... No regular communication with members...[After all, the one union for one workplace policy of Malaysia encourages 'laziness' and apathy - monopoly does this, maybe the time to allow more unions in, and for the purposes of recognition maybe it should just be 20% of the qualified employees, and this means that there could be at least 2 recognized unions...the competition will certainly benefit workers and encourage unions to be more active and efficient...Then, if the worker is unhappy with one 'bad' union, they have a choice to join another...]

Prime Minister Najib and the current BN Federal government should be ashamed of the state of affairs. Without a union, workers can so easily be exploited - and certainly Malaysia do not want this?

Even the Opposition State Governments are not encouraging worker and trade union rights... 

Shame also on the businesses and corporation that are 'blocking' unions...


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