MTUC makes U-turn, urges govt to ratify international treaty against workplace harassment

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 29 Jun 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) will now push for the government to ratify the Convention Concerning Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, says its president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor.

He said MTUC's earlier stand against the international convention was due to "certain misconceptions".

However, Abdul Halim said he was not at liberty to elaborate what were the misconceptions.

In a statement on Saturday (June 29), Abdul Halim voiced MTUC's commitment on the protection of all workers irrespective of race, religion and gender.

"The leadership is very clear on its main role, which is to improve all working conditions and environment for workers, and in the process bring the dignity back to the workers.

"What is more significant is that (the convention) was overwhelmingly adopted by the International Labour Organistion and that the MTUC will be pushing for the government to ratify it with full vigour and without any qualms," he said.

He added that MTUC will also be embarking on a programme to educate the workers on their rights as espoused in the convention.

"It is heartening to note that the Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran has said that the convention's recommendations can be supported by the government," he said.

Responding to criticisms, Abdul Halim said MTUC's proposals for the review of Malaysia's labour laws ensures that workers will get all the protection be it sexual harassment, violence or gender bullying at the workplace.

"What we have asked for in our proposals addresses most of the protection clauses in the convention and we are confident that the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) which is a tripartite platform will ensure the workers will not lose out.

"The MTUC had emphasised to the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and the Malaysian Government at the NLAC meeting on Thursday that we will not compromise on the amendments if we find even the smallest and finest of print that could jeopardise the well-being of any worker in the country," he added.

It was reported that the MTUC and MEF, which represent Malaysian workers and employers respectively, had voted against the convention at the International Labour Conference in Geneva on June 21.

They reportedly voted against the treaty, because it included an LGBT clause where the community was listed as a "vulnerable" group in the convention draft in March 2018.

In a list of countries voting for the adoption of the convention, MTUC was shown as the sole union in the world against the treaty.

MEF and employer representatives from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Singapore also voted against the treaty.

Malaysia’s government representatives abstained from voting at the ILO conference.

News portal Malaysiakini had reported Kulasegaran as saying that the government's neutral stand on the treaty was because it did not wish to be in conflict with the stakeholders.

"In the adoption of the convention on violence and harassment in the world of work, the government of Malaysia voted to abstain due to the following reason - that is, we cannot be in conflict with our stakeholders, the MTUC and MEF - and therefore we took a neutral stand for now," he was reported as saying.

Governments, employers and workers’ representatives from 439 countries voted in favour of the treaty.

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