KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Unions Congress (MTUC) has urged Putrajaya to implement more labour reforms ahead of Labour Day tomorrow, the first following Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) general election win last year.
MTUC secretary-general J Solomon acknowledged that a series of reforms has already been put in place, but said more is needed as workers continue to suffer from exploitation and low wages despite their contribution to the nation.
“Just under a year ago, Malaysia celebrated a new dawn with the election and installation of a new government. There was renewed hope, as workers and trade unions were suffering especially during the last few years of the previous government’s administration.
“We implore the new government not to drag its feet over the promised reforms. There must be action, passion and, most importantly, political will to bring the lost dignity back to the workers,” he said in his Labour Day message in conjunction with MTUC’s 70th anniversary celebration.
Solomon gave the example of the RM1,100 minimum wage, calling it “woefully inadequate” and highlighting PH’s manifesto pledge that the amount would be raised to RM1,500.
He urged the government to consider MTUC’s proposal of RM1,800, saying this would be closer to the recommendations of Bank Negara Malaysia and Khazanah Research Institute.
“The rise in cost of living has become unmanageable, and the lower income group is suffering enormously,” he said.
He also cited how Malaysia’s economy had advanced since independence, saying workers have been left behind and not accorded their dues.
“Rules have been written or left unwritten over the past few decades to favour big businesses. This has resulted in a growing wealth and income divide, which favours the 1% at the expense of the 99%,” he added.
He said dubious employment practices are also more common now, which allow for the legalisation of exploitative practices such as casual and contract employment which he said denies workers decent wages and fair trade union representation.
In addition to reforms to protect workers from exploitation, he said, the Industrial Court should be aware of its role in ensuring that social justice prevails.
“The right to a decent living wage and trade union representation is a basic human right and cannot be auctioned off by businesses or those with vested interests,” he added.
Source : https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/…/dont-drag-your-feet-on…/