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.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
13.7.2019
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.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
1.7.2019


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.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
29.6.2019



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.

K.Veeriah
MTUC Penang Division Secretary
27.6.2019
016 4184520


Saturday, June 22, 2019

MTUC PNG DIV. PRESS RELEASE ILO CONVENTION 87

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.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
22.6.2019
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.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
3.6.2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Press Release On Tuan SM Mohamad Idris Demise

MTUC Penang Division extends it's deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Sdr. SM Mohamaf Idris on his return to the arms of god almighty. He was a gaint in the quest for consumerism and the protection of the enviornment. His unwavering commitment, for the dual cause of consumer rights and the preservation of mother nature's gift to mankind, was lengendary.

We in MTUC Penang had the good fortune to have worked with Sahabat Alam Malaysia, an organisation he founded, on the Save Penang Hill campaign in the 1980s. And it is a testimony to his compassion, to safe-guard the fragile eco system of the hills of Penang, when he took a reasoned stand against the three island reclaimation and the Pan Island Transport projects that has been conceived by the government of Penang.

It is a tragedy that civil soceity has lost a devoted advocate for consumer and enviornment protection. We pray that his soul be blessed by the maker. Good bye to a true friend of the consumers and the hills of Penang!

K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
17.5.2019
016 4184520


Thursday, May 2, 2019

MTUC PENANG DIVISION - PM's view on low wages


PRESS RELEASE

MTUC PENANG DIVISION - PM's view on low wages

The Honourable Prime Minister's view that low wages are better than none, sadly, is a representation of the mind set of the ultra capitalist class! What is shocking is the fact that it was parrotted by the Prime Minister of the "Malaysia Baru" government. Coming on the day that celebrated the sacrifices and contributions of the working people of the world it is, in our opinion, disgusting!

Let us remind the Prime Minister and, by extension, the Pakatan Harapan government, that this nation of ours was build on the blood, sweat and lives lost of the working class. From the early rubber plantation workers, the tin ore mine labourers, to those who build the railways, the harbours and everthing and anything that now stands to glorify this nation it was the product of labour's sacrificies. But the sad fact remains that the workers of the nation are the most marginalised segment of the country.

The plantation workers, the fishermen, the framers, those toilling in the manufacturing sectors etc are all entrapped in the vicious low income equation of the nation no thanks to the low wage policy of the regime that governed our country from independence to May 2018. And least it slips our memory a good 22 years of that was under the leadership of Tun Mahatir who I will refer to Mahatir 1.0!

It is obvious that he has not shed his pro capital inclination. Please permit me to label him "Mahatir 2.0". You do not need to be a rocket scientist to deciphere the fact that his call, of "low wage better than none" as a manifestation of the Pakatan Harapan's government's policy towards the workers of the nation. If that was not the case then where are the voices of the other equal partners of the Pakatan Harapan coaliation?

A promise to implement a minimum wage of RM1500.00 was set aside. The promise that the abolishment of the GST would bring down the cost of living has not materialised. The escalating cost of essential goods and services is a reality that only fools will dare to deny. These realities have been supported by findings from non other than Bank Negara in that the current minimun wage is not appropriate. In fact Bank Negara is of the view that the country ought to inmplement a "living wage"- a wage that would be adequate to meet the workers basic needs with a a bit more to spare.

Having regards to the Bank Negara's finding MTUC Penang Division demands that the existing Minimum Wage Act be replaced with a Living Wage Act  having the jurisdiction to enact a national living wage without the government's interference in the matter.  MTUC Penang Division also is in complete agreement with the response of Bro. J.Soloman the Secretary General of MTUC on the matter - FMT today.

K.VEERIAH
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
2.5.2019
016 4184520








Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Reforming Employment Act 1955

A coalition of 55 trade unions, worker organisations and NGOs have submitted proposals on Employment Act amendments to Ministry of Human Resources in January 2019.

We submitted 44 recommendations. The 7 key recommendations :
'
1) Same rights for all
2) 40 hour of work
3) 98 days maternity leave
4) No discrimination
5) Stop sexual harassment
6) End subcontracting activities
7) Migrant workers' right to redress.

More information please click :

https://www.facebook.com/decentwork.malaysia/

http://www.decentwork.org.my

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

PRESS RELEASE
MTUC Penang Division

MTUC Penang Division is given to understand that Flyglobal Charter Snd Bhd  an airline operating Haj flights to the holy land, has failed to pay wages to some 300 of its employees since January 2019.

According to the National Union Of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) it has received complaints from its members, and workers from the said airline, on the matter. According to NUFAM the said employer has also failed to make contributions to the EPF and SOCSO. Attempts, by NUFAM to seek a meeting with the said employer to pursue an amicable settlement in the matter, has not been successful on account of the management's refusal to meet up with the said union.

MTUC Penang Division, at the on-set, extends its solidarity with the affected workers of Flyglopal airlines - we can relate with the plight of having to meet with their economic obligations minus their only source of income. Having said that we condemn, in no uncertain terms, the lack of compassion on the part of the management of Flyglopal in denying the rightful, and lawful, wages due to the employees concerned. It is our view that irregardless of all other considerations no employer can claim a justification to deny or deprive workers of their hard earned wages. It is immoraly wrong and legally unacceptable!

Having regard to equity and good comscience we implore upon Flyglopal to  pay all outstanding wages to the workers concerned without any further delay. To the management of Flyglopal we say this- to work without been paid is nothing more than bonded labour!

MTUC Penang Division also calls upon the relevant agencies of the Ministry Of Human Resources to initiate immediate course of action in assisting NUFAM, and the affected workers, in the payment of wages so due to the workers. We also call upon MAVCOM and, by extension the Ministry Of Transport, to look into the matter as the said airline may well be in breach of its regulations in the matter.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
19.3.2019
016 4184520

Monday, March 11, 2019

PRESS RELEASE
MTUC PENANG DIVISION

MTUC Penang has taken sight of notices from a couple of MNCs involved in the electronic manufacturing sector announcing manpower downsizing, lower wage increases, lower bonuses and periodic plant shut-downs. Besides the said written annoucements that we have seen we have also received reports that other companies are also planning to implement such measures.

The said notices, that we have read, attributes a weak global demand, weaker growth and an uncertain global outlook as the underlying causes for the course of actions that are undertaken by the said employers. The notices that we have seen, and the informations that we are receving, seems to indicate that the electronic sector employers are initiating down sizing and shut downs from end March 2019 onwards. It is our beleive that we have only received a tiny bit of information and are of the view that the uncertainity of the global market would, in all probabality, impact upon most of the major players in the sector. It is, therefore, our view that the Penang state government ought to call for a meeting with the electronic manufacters in Penang so that the depth of the problem can be appreciated. Such a meeting would also give the state an insight as to the manufacturers plan of actions in the face of challenges facing the sector. We would also take the liberty to propose that the said meeting be inclusive of all stake-holders, including the unions.

On the issue of plant shut-downs MTUC Penang demands that full wages be paid during such periods as any loss of wages would, inevitably, put tremendous pressure on the economical needs of the workers especially so with the prevailling escalating cost of living factors.

K.VEERIAH
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
11.3.2019
016 4184520

Friday, March 8, 2019

MTUC Penang Division views with utmost concern the eviction of tenants from their Taman Manggis homes by the state government of Penang. It is our view that the scales of compassion, and social justice, ought to have been the over riding consideration over the state government's unilateral rules on the eligibility of occupation of the units so allocated to the poor.

As we understand it the said eviction is being justified, amongst other issues, on the occupants income exceeding the limits so set by the authorities. On this score the question that needs to be postulated is whether the affected people's income has taken them out of the bottom 40 (B40) of income parity? MTUC Penang Division, thus, calls upon the state government to disclose the income levels of all those who stand deprived of their homes i.e. if they have moved out of the bottom 40!

It is also our view that, irregardless of income levels, the government has a moral obligation to provide affordable housing to the middle and low income wage earners of the nation. We, nevertheless, take cognisance of the fact that it is easier said then done! That, however, cannot justify the state government's action in throwing the Taman Manggis citizens into the streets the end result being them joining the homeless statstic of Penang.

Whilst the state government is determined on the massive creation of man made islands in the name of bringing development where is the focus on affordable homes that are to be build in the said reclaimed islands? It is obvious, in our view, that the state is paying lip service to the plight of the B40 and M40 segment of the citizens as opposed to the interest of the capitalist class!

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, demands that all the tenants so displaced from their Taman Manggis homes be given back their homes. We also call upon the state to give utmost consideration in providing for affordable homes for the B40 and M40 in the state.

Press release

K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
7.3.2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Minister, remember the RM1,500 minimum wage pledge?

Press Release
MTUC Penang Division

MTUC Penang Division is shocked at the Human Resources Minister's statement that the current minimum wage of RM1100.00 is to "high" for some sectors- FMT today.

Firstly, we wish to remind the Minister of the Pakatan Harapan government's pledge to a minimum wage of RM1500.00 as declared in its manifesto. Secondly, we wish to remind him, least he  has a case of memory lost, of the Pakatan Harapan's commitment to enhancing the minimum wage to RM1500.00 over the period of its term of office.

Thirdly, we wish to tell the Minister to look at the indisputable fact that the Malaysian workers do not even earn a living wage. On this score we make reference to the Bank Negara's report that the working people of the nation ought to be paid a living wage as compared to a minimum wage. The said Bank Negara report, as we recollect, in a nut-shell states that our workers are not paid a decent living wage that would be adequate to meet the prevailing cost of living factors let alone residual income for home ownership etc.

The fact that workers, Malaysians or migrants,  work excessive overtime hours so as to meet their economical needs was exposed in the cases of workers employed in the rubber glove manufacturing sector, recently, stands as evidence that the wage levels of the working population of the country is grossly inadequate so much so it was equated to bonded labour!

Given the fact that the vast majority of the working citizens are entrapped in the B40 and M40 segment it is no gain saying that the Pakatan Government is beholden to structure, and execute, economic programmes to empower them. Let us also remind the Minister, and by extentsion the Pakatan Harapan government, that a failure to do would not augur well for the future of the current givernment!

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, calls upon the Minister Of Human Resources to refrain from making statements without considerations to the wider concerns of the working population on the issue of a decent living wage.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
25.2.2019

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT - WATER RATE INCREASE IN PENANG

In the space of the last few days statements have been attributed to the Penang chief minister, and the CEO of PBA Jaseni Maidinsa, on the possibilty of water charge rate increase and a statistical analysis of the water consumption trends in Penang, respectively.

 The Penang Chief Minister's statement was  that the Penang state government is seeking the federal goverment's "blessing" in increasing the water comsumption rates by between 10 to 20% in the state. He seems to justify such an increase on the basis that Penang's water comsumption levy is the lowest in the country.

On the other hand PBA's CEO states that the people of Penang have lowered their water consumption from 291 liters per capita per day  in 2010 to 276 liter in 2017. And he states it was because of the imposition of a water conservation surcharge (WCS) imposed on consumers. On this issue it needs to be asked whether it was the WCS that brought down consumption or whether it was as a result of the consumers awareness in reducing water consumption or a combination of the factors in the matter. On both counts it cannot be denied that water consumption, in the state, is on the down ward trend. Given that fact we find it hard to comprehend the state government's proposal to burden Penang water consumers with a 10 to 20% increase in water tariff.

As it is the working population are confronted with ever escalating cost of living and to, further, burden them with an increase in water consumption rates would not only be unjustified but immoral given the Pakatan Harapan's pledge to lighten the economic burden of the people.

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, calls upon the Penang state government to embark on creating greater awareness on conservation of water consumption as opposed to burdening the people of Penang with a 10 to 20% increase in water tariff.

K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
16.1.2019
016 4184520

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hyundai's Chennai plant workers protest over alleged delay in wage pay

Hyundais-Chennai-plant-workers-protest-over-alleged-delay-in-wage-pay

A section of workers in Motor’s Chennai plant held a one-day token hunger strike on Wednesday, as the wage settlement talks with the management were inconclusive. 

The permanent workers, under the recognised union, had earlier decided to stay away from over time operations, and alleged the company was using the to substitute 

The United of Employees (UUHE), the which had entered into a wage settlement last time, has been in talks with the management for the settlement for the period 2018-2021. 

However, the talks remain inconclusive, with the negotiation on the percentage of salary hike yet to see success, said sources from the company on condition of anonymity.


spokesperson refuted the allegation, saying, “At the moment we are engaged in wage negotiations with the recognised  The talks are at an advanced stage, and are progressing smoothly. The employees, and have supported the meeting of production targets.”

“At Motor India,  our production lines are manned by our employees, but we also engage  These are on boarded after they have undergone an intensive one-year training at our plant, under senior supervisors. We do not employ unskilled workers on  the production lines,” said the company spokesperson.

Motor has over 2,200 permanent workers, around 3,500 and another 5,000 contract workers in the Sriperumbudur facility, they say.




Bukit Kukus - Worksite safety flaws

PRESS RELEASE - MTUC PENANG DIVISION

MTUC Penang Division, in reference to the Penang Chief Minister's statement  that the Bukit Kukus landslide was due to "worksite safety flaws" (FMT today) is of the view that it is nothing short of an admission that those hired to undertake the job had disregarded their duty of care in confirming with the threshold safety standards that they were beholden to observe.

The Chief Minister's views, on the issue, seems to be based on the findings of the probe conducted by the Penang Island City Council and that conducted by the Penang Deputy Chief 1. Inspite of such conclusion the Chief Minister says he will wait for the findings of the department of occupational safety and health (DOSH) before making a decision as to whether to retain the existing contractors or not. His position is like saying that I have my doubts with the findings of those I entrusted to investigate the matter!

MTUC Penang Division's stand is simply this- if the Penang Island City Council and the Deputy Chief Minister's finding on the issue at hand is that the contractors had compromised on the worksite safety standards there is no reason for the state to delay appropriate course of action against the current contractors who, obviously, have failed in their responsibilities. With or without a report from DOSH  the state must have the courage, and the conviction, to terminate the irresponsible contractors involved.

The Chief Minster has also expressed his hope that the project can continue. Our response to that is this - can the Chief Minister or the state government give an undertaking that there will be no more  "worksite safety flaws" if the work is allowed to continue?

On all account it is our view that it would be proper for the state government to act with utmost caution in the matter. Between development and loss of lives please choose the lesser evil.

K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
9.1.2019