Monday, April 18, 2016

MTUC sends 'secret' MEMO to Prime Ministers? What MTUC asking unclear..?

Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) allegedly sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister about several issues - but alas, save for media reports, I could not find the said Memorandum in the MTUC website. 

The fact that MTUC sends this and that memorandums, but do not even make it available in the MTUC website itself makes it very difficult for workers in Malaysia, trade unions, other Members of Parliament, Senators, political parties and even civil society to know what MTUC really wants - let alone support MTUC. It is a bad strategy to just inform the Prime Minister of what it wants.

MTUC must tell the people what it is demanding. In fact, the letters that it sends to the government must be also available on the website - one does not campaign for changes in 'secret' - that is not the way.

MTUC is the recognized representative of workers in the ILO (International Labour Organisation) and also when it comes to the government of Malaysia. But, its failure to be transparent is most disturbing...

Are they really being representative of workers and unions? Is this 'secrecy' because they are worried that they do not have the support of other workers and unions, especially the many unions who are not members of the MTUC. Be open in your struggle for worker and union rights in Malaysia...

From the news report, we see that MTUC is fighting for :-

# A common minimum wage for all workers, i.e. RM1,200 per month;

# Make all employers pay workers an additional RM300 cost of living allowance to employees, over and above wages..

# Form a Royal Commission of Inquiry on Migrant Workers [the why and the terms of reference not clear]

# Introduce a 'Government to Government Recruitment Process' - what does MTUC mean? Why does MTUC even want the Government to get involved in the recruitment process? Should it not be for a direct Employer-Employee recruitment process, without the involvement of any third party (be it recruitment agencies, or governments)? What is MTUC suggesting - Employer tell Malaysian government what workers they want, and Malaysian government tells Government of the Country of origin, who then finds the worker - pass it to the Malaysian government, and to the employer???? Why make 2 governments involved in the employment process? Should governments become the new 'recruitment agents'? An odd demand by MTUC. Governments should set laws and policies - not be a party of an employment process..

# MTUC giving '90 days" for the government to respond to union complaints? Workers and union complaints should be addressed speedily - certainly no more than 3-5 days, giving '90 days' is way too long and workers/unions will suffer the most. Maybe, MTUC meant something else - but when we look at media reports, we only get this..

It is an MTUC memorandum - why not make it public - so we all know what MTUC is asking for? MTUC has a website, and it must use that also as a campaign tool...




MTUC sends memo to PM after two letters go unanswered

Terence Tang     Published     Updated  

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office after failing to secure an appointment with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to discuss thye rising woes of workers.

MTUC secretary-general N Gopal Kishnam said the memorandum presented yesterday outlines problems faced by the Malaysian workforce and MTUC’s proposals on how to solve them.

“We have raised the matters with the Human Resources Ministry twice, but there have been no concrete plans (by the ministry) to overcome these issues.

“That’s why we approached the prime minister for help. We have written two letters to the prime minister to seek an appointment with him to discuss the issues that Malaysian workers are currently facing,” Gopal said when contacted.

“But since there was no feedback from (the Prime Minister’s Office), we have no choice but to submit a memorandum to the prime minister,” he added.

Gopal hopes Prime Minister Najib will contact the MTUC to arrange a dialogue session.

The memorandum was submitted by an MTUC delegation of about 20 people, and received by an aide to the prime minister.

'Don’t discriminate East Malaysia'

In its memorandum, MTUC among others called for a hike of the national minimum wage.

“Though we are pleased that the prime minister has raised the minimum wage for public servants to RM1,200 monthly (in his budget speech on Oct 23 last year), we are also disappointed that a similar criteria was not established for employees in the private sector, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

“The rising cost of living, inflation and the goods and services tax (GST) affects all employees. So why are we discriminating against them (workers from the private sector, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan)?” Gopal (photo) asked.

MTUC also hopes the government will make it compulsory for all employers in Malaysia to provide a cost-of-living adjustment allowance of RM300 to every employee.

“The employers and investors have always announced their companies’ yearly profits with pride in their annual financial reports.

“I believe the profits of these companies should also be shared among the employees,” Gopal said.

He estimates that GST has raised the price of 90 percent of the goods and services, with those earning less than RM3,000 being the worst hit by this tax.

The MTUC memorandum also called on the prime minister to:
  • Amend the Industrial Relations Act 1967 to set a 90-day limit to settle all legal requests and prevent postponements when union members participate in mutual discussions to form joint agreements or start collective negotiations with their employees;
  • Amend Section 30 (7) of the Industrial Relations Act to improve the Industrial Court’s efficiency in setting enforcement dates for joint agreement cases;
  • Ensure that the police and other relevant authorities respect the rights of union members to hold picketing events according to Section 40;
  • Maintain a clearer definition of Section 9 of the Industrial Relations Act;
  • Ensure fair and equal treatment of foreign workers in court;
  • Establish an Industrial Appellate Court as the most authoritative court in industrial relations, including dismissal cases under Section 20 of the Industrial Relations Act;
  • Ensure that all cases involving Malaysia Airlines employees are handled fairly and without delays under the Industrial Relations Act;
  • Change the current system of hiring foreign workers to curb the unscrupulous activities of middlemen and agents. MTUC proposes a government-to-government recruitment process;
  • Initiate stricter enforcement of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and prioritise Malaysians in hiring;
  • Lower industry dependency on foreign workers in stages. With an abundance of jobs available for locals, the unemployment rate among Malaysians will drop, and this could play a vital role in turning Malaysia into a high-income nation; and
  • Set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry on foreign workers and put on hold the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers.- Malaysiakini, 12/4/2016

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