KUALA LUMPUR – Workers continue to suffer exploitation and low wages despite their immense contribution to the nation, says the Malaysian Trade Unions Congress (MTUC).
Saying that what is being done is negligible but what needs to be done is immense, Congress secretary-general J. Solomon reminded the government that there was dignity in labour and the world was a better place because of what the workers do for the country.
He hoped that the Pakatan Harapan government, which was celebrating its first Labour Day as the ruling coalition, would make sweeping reforms although he admitted that it has already initiated a series of reform.
“Slightly less than a year ago today, 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 today (30 April 2019) in his Labour Day message and in commemoration with MTUC’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
Touching on the minimum wage of RM1,100 Solomon said it was woefully inadequate even though the government proclaimed in their manifesto that it would be RM1,500 before their term ends, adding that it was a pittance.
As such, he implored the government to seriously consider MTUC’s proposal of RM1,800 in fairness to the B40 which was almost close to the recommendations made by Bank Negara and Khazanah Research Institute.
“The rise in the cost of living had become unmanageable, and the lower income group was suffering enormously. We hope the reforms would prove to be a good starting point in restoring the imbalance which favored capital against labor for decades,” he added.
Given the advancement of the country’s economy since independence, he said workers had been left behind and have not been accorded their dues.
He added that the social contract of the country needed to be rewritten, and political and economic power must be shifted away from the 1% to the 99%.
Solomon said the theme for this year’s Labour Day, “Future of Work”, was appropriate given the challenges workers were facing today.
“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.
Criticising employers, he said precarious employment practices had become more common, which allowed for the legalization of exploitative practices such as casual and contract employment, that denied workers a decent wages and fair trade union representation.
As such he added, serious reforms were necessary to prevent the exploitative practices of employers that included anti-union activities.
“The Industrial Court should also serve as a court of equity and good conscience in the real sense, and recognize the role it plays in ensuring social justice prevails in the country.
“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 a vested interest,” he added.
Source : http://bebasnews.my/…/future-of-work-represents-the-challe…/