PETALING JAYA: Following a backlash over its vote against an international convention on workplace harassment, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has claimed that its action was due to “certain misconceptions”.
Saying he was not going to explain what the misconceptions were, its president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor said the MTUC would now push for the government to ratify the treaty known as the Convention Concerning Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.
In a statement issued yesterday, he expressed the MTUC’s commitment to the protection of all workers irrespective of race, religion and gender.
“The leadership is very clear on its main role, which is to improve working conditions and environment for workers, and in the process bring dignity back to the workers,” he said.
“What is more significant is that (the convention) was overwhelmingly adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and that the MTUC will be pushing for the government to ratify it with full vigour and without any qualms,” he added.
Abdul Halim said the MTUC would also embark on a programme to educate workers on their rights as espoused in the convention.
“It is heartening to note that Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran has said that the convention’s recommendations can be supported by the government,” he added.
Abdul Halim said the MTUC’s proposals for the review of Malaysia’s labour laws ensured that workers would get all the protection, be it against sexual harassment, violence or gender bullying at the workplace.
“What we have asked for in our proposals address 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 that workers will not lose out,” he added.
“The MTUC emphasised to the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and the 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 can jeopardise the well-being of any worker in the country,” he said.
It was reported that the MTUC and MEF had voted against the convention at the ILO Conference in Geneva on June 21.
The MTUC and MEF 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.
Two government representatives at the conference also abstained from voting.
Kulasegaran later explained that this was because the ministry did not wish to be in conflict with the stakeholders.