KUCHING: The Sarawak Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has called on the Dewan Negara to approve the amendments on the Industrial Relations Act 1967 passed by the Dewan Rakyat two months ago.
Its secretary Andrew Lo said the Sarawak chapter "fully supports" the amendments because they contained many improvements for workers.
"Among the many benefits of the amendments are direct appeal to the High Court, making it easier and cheaper for workers to challenge Industrial Court decisions; no compensation limit in union-busting cases for union members; removal of ministerial power to allow automatic reference to the Industrial Court; employers to pay increased penalties if they do not comply with court awards; and allowing the cases of workers who have died to continue," he said in a statement on Thursday (Dec 12).
Lo also said the amendments would pave the way towards ratifying the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Convention 87 on freedom of association and the right to organise.
He said MTUC's position had consistently called for the ratification of ILO's Convention 87, which was reiterated at its triennial delegates conference in 2016.
"We call on the Dewan Negara to fully respect and support the decision of the Dewan Rakyat as duly elected representatives of all citizens of Malaysia," he said.
It was previously reported that MTUC had urged the Dewan Negara to reject the amendments as they had been "rushed through" the Dewan Rakyat.
Lo said trade union leaders should focus on how to unionise the majority of workers in Malaysia who were non-unionised instead of being concerned about their own unions and positions.
"As we move into the digital economy, antiquated regressive policies must be thrown out and we must adopt international best practices.
"We must no longer limit unions to a specific establishment, trade, occupation or industry when industries merge and businesses integrate and go online.
"That is why the amendments aim to make it easer for workers to join unions by removing existing barriers," he said.
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