Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
The MTUC is a federation of trade unions and registered under the Societies Act, 1955. It is the oldest National Centre representing the Malaysian workers. The Unions affiliated to MTUC represent all major industries and sector with approximately 500,000 members.
The MTUC came into existence at a time when the First Emergency was declared against insurgent communist activities. At this critical time, workers had no organization to look after their interest, protect them and also to represent their views generally. A few union leaders who believed in free democratic trade unionism convened a conference of trade union delegates on 27th and 28th February, 1949.
a. To do everything to promote the interest of it’s affiliated organisations, to improve the economic and social conditions of workers and render them assistance.
b. To ensure that policies are developed and action taken to ensure full employment, to work towards the establishment of a minimum wage a legal maximum working week of 44 hours and to establish training centres and extension of training facilities for workers.
c. Provision for legislated Social Security measures to provide protection against sickness, unemployment, old age, injury, invalidity and retiring benefits and promotion of high standards of health, hygiene and welfare in all places of employment and seek adequate compensation for workers disabled by accidents and diseases.
The MTUC has been recognized by the Government as the representative of workers in Malaysia and is consulted by Government on major changes in labour laws through the National Joint Labour Advisory Council. MTUC also represent labour at the International Labour Organisation Conferences and Meetings.
While MTUC has had many successes on issues favouring workers, there is still a lot to be done. The biggest challenge it now faces is to bring about necessary changes to some of the restrictive provisions in the Trade Union Act, the Industrial Relations Act and the Employment Act.
MTUC is actively involved in helping unions to obtain recognition, mediating in inter-union grievances, assisting unions in their negotiation, mustering support and aid for union projects and programmes, providing advise and assistance in the administrative work of unions, giving help and advice to resolve problems, furnishing important information and data to help unions in collective bargaining, helping to organise workers and helping to increase efficiency, safety and productivity.
Because of MTUC’s international involvement, it is possible to send many union leaders for overseas courses, seminars and conferences. This has gone a long way to strengthen unions and improve international understanding.
A number of international seminars and conferences were hosted by the MTUC successfully. Many of the MTUC leaders are playing an active role internationally. The MTUC President is on the governing board of the ILO. Other leaders also serve in various capacities internationally. The MTUC is held in high esteem because of the progress we have achieved.
Current Programmes: MTUC is pursuing its efforts to establish the following:
a. minimum wage law;
b. 5-day work;
c. increase in rater of EPF contribution and SOCSO benefits;
d. amendments to the present labour laws – Employment Act, Trade Union Act and Industrial Relations Act;
e. lifting of restrictions for the formation of bigger unions by workers from related trades;
f. organising the large number of workers yet to be organised including workers in the Free Trade Zone Area;
g. influx of guest workers;
h. retraining for retrenched workers, re-employment of retrenched workers.
The trade union movement in Malaysia has today changed its traditional role of merely promoting bread and butter issues of its members. It is today involving itself in the economic development of the country. MTUC activities are geared to promote equality, improve living standards of workers and create a better and safer working environment.
Address: Wisma MTUC,10-5, Jalan USJ 9/5T, 47620 Subang Jaya,Selangor | Tel: 03-80242953 | Fax: 03-80243225 | Email: email@example.com