Friday, July 19, 2019

Key Performance Index On Industrial Court

Press Release - Key Performance Index On Industrial Court

MTUC takes notice of YB Dato Abdullah Sani's recent address in parliment on the issue of the conduct of the presiding Chairman of the Industrial Court, in the alleged case of Mega Steel, and are shocked that the very bastion of justice ie the industrial court has abdicated its inherent jurisdiction on account of a purported compliance to the Human Resources Minister's directive.

As we are given to understand the industrial court has been put under an obligation to dispose of cases within 12 months. We appreciate the fact that workers' cases be dealth with in the shortest possible time but what is disturbing is that, in the process, due justice to the workers involved can be compromised as in the case in question.

It is, thus, our case that the industrial court ought to be given the space to act on its own withouth any interference by the Minister. There is no gain saying that circumstances, in each case, will have considerations of its own. And the Honourable Industrial Court ought to  subscribe to the higher call of social justice without fear, or favour, to politically appointed authorities. A court of social justice, the Industrial Court, cannot be even viewed as subservient to thier Minister.

 At this juncture MTUC Penang ponders whether the Industrial Court should continue to be placed under the jurisdiction of a political apppointee i.e the Minister Of Human Resources  or ought to be escalated to an independent entity. On this score MTUC Penang Division re-calls that there was a proposal, a long time ago, to migrate the Industrial Court, to be structured within a division of the High Court of Malaysia. It was expounded that, by virtue of such a migration, the Industrial Court would be vested with the jurisdiction of a court of first instance and aggrieved parties having a right to an appeal as oppossed to a process of judicial review motions as the case so prevails.

We, in MTUC Penang Division, are of the opinion that the current government ought to give serious consideration to the above said possibility. In our view such a migration would remove the notion that the Industrial Court is beholden to the executive.

In conclusion we call upon the Honourable Minister Of Human Resources to refrain from interfering with the Industrial Court's inherent jurisdiction in the disposal of cases before it.

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Cases Of Union Busting, the NUBE's Fight

Press Release - Cases Of Union Busting, the NUBE's Fight

At the on-set MTUC Penang Division extends its salutations, to the National Union Of Bank Employees (NUBE), on its tenacious endeavours in fighting Bank Maumalat and Alliance Banks' "union busting" actions.

We are of the view that what happened in the case of the banks involved may well be prevalent in other sectors including, but not restricted, to the manufacturing and service sectors.

MTUC Penang Division has received complaints that employers are engaging workers on an apprenticeship but in reality they are assigned to carry out duties of production workers. We have, also, received reports that employers are resorting to engaging production workers on either a temporary or so called fixed term contract. And, in the worst case secnario, employers just "out-source" their manpower requirements to circumvent the workers right to trade union representation and protection of collective bargaining.

MTUC Penang Division, therefore,  is of the view that, irregadless of the nature of the contract, the right to trade union representation must be respected by employers having regards to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. In consonant with the said Article 10, MTUC Penang Division calls upon the Minister Of Human Resources to make the necessary amendments, to the relevant labour legislations, so as to ensure workers rights, to trade union representation and collective bargainimg is not denied.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Monday, July 1, 2019

Malaysian Workers Don't Want To Work, Dr. Mahatir

Press Release - Malaysian Workers Don't Want To Work, Dr. Mahatir

There is this adage which states "look before you leap". Sadly the Minister of Human Resources gave no attetion to it when he elected to subscribe to the plantation owners' call for exploring the possibility of hiring workers from the African continent.

Today he back-tracks on the issue at the behest of his supreme leader the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahatir. Speaking of the "supreme leader" MTUC Penang Division abhors his statement that Malaysian workers "don't want to work" (The STAR page 2 30.6.2019). That was a sweeping statement devoid of any substantive evidence.

If Dr. Mahatir had confined his statement to the unwillingness of Malaysians to work in the plantation sector our  response would be simply this - if the Vietnamese and Indonesians have decided not to work in the plantations in Malaysia BECAUSE wages in their countries are comparable to what our plantation owners pay the big question is whether wages, in the Malaysian plantation sector, has stagnated in comparison to wage empowerment in those countries! The apparent answer, in our opinion,  is a big yes!

Consequentially,  what needs to be examined is the issue of living conditions and wage levels in the plantation sector that would attract our workers to seek employment in the said sector. Until and unless wages, and living conditions in the plantation sector is set at a conducive level, we will never be able to draw our labour force to fill the optimum labour requirement in the said sector.

Hence, we wish to remind the Pakatan Harapan government of its pledge to implement a montly wage of RM1500.00 though that, itself, is not an appropriate rate according to the Bank Negara Malaysia's report. In fact it is Bank Negara's recommendation that we move towards a 'living wage' module i.e. sufficient income levels to meet ones basic economic needs with a little bit to spare!

MTUC Penang Division, having regards to the matters set-out hereinbefore, calls upon the government to pursue labour centric reforms,  be it empowerment of wages, enhancement of working conditions or objective labour law reforms having regards to universally accepted labour standards.

In conclusion it is our view that issues, related to the working class struggle, ought not be viewed in a tunnel vision prespective. Demeaning statements such as "Malaysian Workers don't want to work" attributted to the Prime Minister is an insult to the contribution of the working class who build, and continue to be the back- bone, of our nation's progress, economic or otherwise.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Workers From Africa For The Plantation Sector

Press Release - Workers From Africa For The Plantation Sector

The Human Resources Minister's statement that, he has approached ambassdors of Africian nations for the possibility of providing workers to our plantation sector, is a matter of concern for us.
 The Minister attributes his action on account of workers from Vietnam and Indonesia shying away from working in the plantation sector. And the reason is, that, wages in their country has grown to match wages paid by the Malaysian plantation sector.

If the Minister's statement was a fact, which we have little reason to doubt, it brings into focus the question of whether wages of the Malaysian plantation workers has stagnated in comparison to  wage empowerment in Vietnam and Indinesia?

 Accepting the Minister's statement as a fact what that needs to be addressed is the solution to the reality i.e. whether we source for an alternative influx of migrant workers at "competetive" wages from Africa, or anywhere else for the matter, or we elect to empower the wage levels within the country.

On the said issue we wish to refresh the Minister, and the government, on the call, by none other than Bank Negara Malaysia, for a 'living wage' module to be adopted as oppossed to the current 'minimum wage' concept.

Given the fact that the current 'minimum wage' of RM 1,100 is judged as inadequate by our ASEAN  workers we are of the view that there is a serious mis-match of wage levels in Malaysia as compared to Vietnam and Indonesia. The solution therefore, in our opinion, is for our country to move up the wages chain least we are looked upon as a low wage dumpsite'

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, wishes to reiterate its demand that the government introduces a 'living wage' that would attract our workers to take up jobs not only in the plantation sector but all others sectors as well.

In conclusion it is our view that sourcing labour from one region or another would never be a solution unless our government empowers our workers with a equtiable living wage.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Friday, June 28, 2019

Death of 4 workers in another landslide in Penang

Press Release - Death of 4 workers in another landslide in Penang

Another landslide and death of innocent workers in Penang! MTUC Penang Division wonders when the authorities will wake up to the reality that,  unsupervised development of the sensitive hill sides of Penang would continue to pose a threat to occurrences of landslides resulting in the unnessary death of workers.

 From the the Granito landslide in October, 2017 to the present case what is obvious is, that, there is complete lack of compliance to acceptable safety standards by uncaring developers of their  properties. The fact that, no permission was obtained to carry-out earth works by the resort involved in the present case,
 as reported, seems to affirm the reality that uncaring developers give no respect to the regulatory provisions of law- local government or otherwise.

MTUC Penang Division's primary concern is the death of workers, Malaysians or migrant as we are blind to nationality - a death of a worker is a loss of an innocent worker!

Under such circumstances MTUC Penang Division demands that the authorities impose the full application of the law against those responsible for the unwarranted death of the 4 Myanmar guest workers.

MTUC Penang Division Secretary
016 4184520

Saturday, June 22, 2019


Press Release - ILO Convention 87

MTUC Penang Division refers to the FMT report of 21.6.2019 wherein it had quoted the Human Resources Ministry as saying that the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) had, previously, rejected  the ratification of ILO Convention 87 by the government of Malaysia. The said Ministry's response is, apparently,  a rebuttal of the MTUC General Secretary Bro. J. Soloman's call, to the ILO,  to persuade the government of Malaysia to ratify Convention 87.

To the best of my knowledge MTUC has always pursued the goal of the ratification of ILO Convention 87 on the fundamental right to freedom of association and the right to organise. The MTUC's push, for the ratification of Convention 87,  has always been an utmost priority over the past decades. And, as I can re-collect, the MTUC has never compromised itself on the matter.

 MTUC Penang Division is, therefore,  baffelled at the statement of the Ministry Of Human Resources that MTUC had rejected ILO Convention 87 osentsibly on the grounds of multiplicity of unions at the workplace. We are also concerned with the Human Resources Ministry's statement that they abandoned amendments to the Trade Union Act 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act 1967 on account of MTUC's purported  position with regards to Convention 87.

Firstly, it would be impossible for the MTUC leadership to deviate from the collective decision of the organisation on the pursuit of the ratification of Convention 87. Secondly, the ratification of Convention 87, in all its form,  has no middle path - you either adpot it lock, stock and barrel or not! And that is a fact that the MTUC is fully aware off. Under such circumstances we are of the view that the MTUC leadership would not have stood in the path of the ratification of Convention 87 as it has been a priority  item on MTUC's policy agenda for a long, long time.

Having made our point in the matter we wish to turn to the Ministry's decision to abandon  crucial amendments to the Trade Union Act 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act 1967.

If the Pakatan Harapan government is truly committed to labour law reforms it must display that pledge by bringing about meaningful changes to the existing labour legislations. For the trade union movement to break out of the entrapment of uncaring and repulsive labour laws that curtails the  development of a vibrant labour movement it is vital that the Ministry Of Human Resources brings about the appropriate changes to the existing labour laws without any undue delay. Abandoning the urgently needed changes, to the prevailing restrictive provisions of the Trade Union Act 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act 1967, is not,  in our view, an option. We, therefore, would urge the Ministry Of Human Resources to review its position in the matter.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Monday, June 3, 2019

Death of worker at Tunas Gemilang TKK Enterprise worksite.

PRESS RELEASE FROM MTUC PENANG DIVISION  - Death of worker at Tunas Gemilang TKK Enterprise worksite.

MTUC Penang Division refers to the FMT report of today wherein it was reported that Tunas Gemilang TKK Enterprise has pleaded guilty to negligence in the death of an employee working on its 35 storey apartment project in Manjung, Sitiawan, Perak.

MTUC Penang Division commends the Department Of Occupational Safety And Health (DOSH) in bringing charges against the said errant employer. We, however, are mindful of the fact that cases of deaths and serious injuries taking place in the construction sector, and by extentsion in other sectors as well, is alarming compared to the number of employers so charged in court. It is, therefore, our demand that DOSH makes no compromises in throwing the book at employers who abdicate their duty of care to a safe place.

In the case of the death of the Tunas Gemilang worker there is a more pressing issue that needs to be answered. The issue is not whether the pit was fenced or sealed but how, and why the worker fell from an elevated work station? What that needs to be investigated is whether the said worker was provided with safety harness while working at that height as so required. It is, therefore, our call that pertinent issue be investigated and the appropriate cause of action be instituted if necessary.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520