Sunday, November 3, 2019

Transform The Industrial Relations Eco-system!

Press Release From MTUC Penang Division - Transform The Industrial Relations Eco-system!

The Human Resources Ministry's recent press release, stating that the MTUC was never sidelined in respect of the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act, 1967, makes reference to the following matters:-

1. that, a total of 10 National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meetings were convened in 2019;

2. that, technical committees were constituted to deliberate on the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act, 1967; and

3. that, the MTUC was a party to all deliberations at both the NLAC and its technical committees.

We, in MTUC Penang Division, take cognisance of the above stated matters but are puzzled if that, in itself, tantamounts to MTUC's consensus to the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 so tabled by the Minister and passed by parliment.

On the above said matters we have been given to understand that there were no agreement at the NLAC and that the deliberations, at the technical committees, was ongoing when the amendments were tabled in parliment.

Whether the said amendments are positioned to confirm to  international labour standards is not the issue. What is pertinent, in our view, is whether the Pakatan Harapan government is beholden to an affirmative course of action to transform the industrial relations eco-system that has all the time favoured the empoyers/business class.

Recalibirating existing labour laws would only serve the purpose of compromises between the opposing forces but a transformation of the industrial relations eco-system without the shackles of legislative interferences, in our view, would enable the trade union movement to function as an effective socio-economic agent of change to the landscape of the working population of the nation.

Whilst the Ministry appears to champion international labour standards we find it unacceptable that ILO Convention 87, on the freedom of association and the protection to organise, is yet to be ratified by the government.

Under such circumstances we would urge the government not only to ratify ILO Convention 87 but also to remove all legislative obstacles that impedes, retards and/or encroaches into the realms of an independent trade union movement.

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520