MTUC seeks UN's help to get Malaysia to reform labour laws


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 20 Jun 2019

(From left) MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon, MEF vice-president A. Ramadas, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran and ILO deputy director and area manager Tamako Nishimoto shaking hands at the ILO centenary in Geneva.

(From left) MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon, MEF vice-president A. Ramadas, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran and ILO deputy director and area manager Tamako Nishimoto shaking hands at the ILO centenary in Geneva.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) are seeking the help of the United Nations in an attempt to reform a labour law involving local and foreign workers.

The MTUC has asked the United Nations global labour centre to push Malaysia to ratify Convention 87 (C87), which deals with the fundamental freedom of association of all workers, including migrants.

Its secretary-general, J. Solomon, said the Pakatan Harapan government had shown some commitment to reform the "archaic labour laws", but insisted that ratifying C87 will be most crucial.

“Ratifying this Convention would allow all migrant workers to join unions of their choice and prevent their exploitation, which is happening now.

"The spirit of the proposed labour reforms by the new Pakatan Harapan Government will free these workers from bondage and exploitation," he said at the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Centenary conference in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday (June 20). 

Upon ratifying the Convention, authorities will have to refrain from any interference that would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof. 

It would also allow workers and employers organisations to draw up their constitutions, elect their representatives in full freedom, and organise their administration and activities.

“This ratification will also mean that foreign workers will enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by all Malaysian workers,” he said.

Solomon was speaking at the closing of the session after the signing of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) by Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran, ILO, Malaysian Employers Federation and the MTUC. 

He said the Putrajaya and Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) should incorporate the elements from the document in the proposed labour reforms for signing to be meaningful and not just a ceremony.

He added that ILO should play a key role to convince the Malaysian government to head towards this direction, as workers from all over came to Malaysia to earn a decent living.