Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 30 April 2021 in Shah Alam
In conjunction with Labour Day 2021, Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC) calls on the government to explain whether it has suspended the labour law reform exercise indefinitely.
Since the formation of the new government in February 2020, LLRC has been requesting meetings with the Ministry of Human Resources and sent multiple letters in relation to the amendments of Trade Union Act 1959, Employment Act 1955 and secret ballot formula (for union recognition).
Regrettably, we did not get any response from the ministry with regard to estimated dates of enacting the Trade Union Act, Employment Act and new secret ballot regulation. The government continues to remain silent after proclamation of emergency in January 2021.
Trade unions and worker organisations are frustrated with the no progress of labour law reform after the Industrial Relations Act took effect with plenty of reservations. Workers hit by the Covid-19 lack of a proper bargaining platform because of the low unionization rate of six percent.
In celebrating labour day 2021, we urge the government:
- To immediately reconvene the parliament, pass the amendments to Trade Union Act and Employment Act proposed by the Ministry of Human Resources in 2019.
- To remove reservations imposed on the Industrial Relations Act and allow trade unions to seek recognition with companies beyond the existing trade, industry and occupation.
- To revamp the secret ballot formula by vote-cast to ensure a fair union recognition process.
- To ratify ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association, and ensure our industrial relations system is fully in compliance with the ILO Convention 98 on Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining ratified by the government
- To kick-off discussion on the new minimum wage rate for 2021 at National Wages Consultative Council and implement it as soon as possible.
- To make a new ministerial regulation and define e-hailing riders as workers, so that they can form trade unions and bargain collectively with employers.
- To enact a standalone Sexual Harassment Act and ratify ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment
- To set up a migrant workers’ hotline at the labour department to deal with complaints including confiscation of passports and wage arrears. To increase labour inspection to ensure domestic workers can enjoy one-day off every week.
- To set up a royal commission of inquiry to investigate all kinds of problems facing migrant workers
- To fully implement and enforce Employee’s Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodations and Amenities Act as a measure of community infection control.
- To overhaul the social protection system, extend protection for unemployed workers, informal workers, and those fall below the poverty line during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- To amend EPF Act to include additional incomes such as tips in service sector as wages in calculating EPF contribution
Gopal Kishnam & Irene Xavier
Labour Law Reform Coalition
- Facebook Page, “Labour Law Reform Coalition,” https://www.facebook.com/llrcmalaysia/
- Industri All, “Malaysian government urged to end emergency rule and reform labour law,” http://www.industriall-union.org/malaysian-government-urged-to-end-emergency-rule-and-reform-labour-law
- New Mandala, “Whither labour law reform in Malaysia?” https://www.newmandala.org/whither-labour-law-reform-in-malaysia/