Saturday, 1 December 2018

Dear Tun Mahathir, YB Lim Guan Eng and YB Kula, we are extremely dissappointed in #Badjet2019 and the PH government in treating workers especially women workers so lowly as to increase the minimum wage by RM50 to RM1,100 truly disgusting, demeaning attitude this govt has.
That eventful day to protest at Parliament #BantahRM1050 was of little use. During the #Badjet2019 only another measly amount was increased. Is this how the PH govt treat workers especially women workers who at the bottom rung in the hierarchy of wages.
Because of the contract system, mature women and single mums choose to work in the informal sector. At 54% female labour participation rate, most women choose to work in the informal sector so they can look after their kids.
Women are forced to quit their jobs to look after their kids to save money on child care. When their kids are grown up when they wish to return to the workforce, they are denied jobs or paid minimum wage. Both 2010 and 2015 OECD reports on Msia urged the govt to set up affordable child care centres so women can return to the formal work force which pay for a pension fund and insurance for injuries at work place.
Come on PH govt tax the top rich, we still lag behind in our taxation of this sector, only below 5% of GDP. Developed nations charge taxes for this sector at least about 10% of GDP.
This govt supports this small minority of people who earn more than RM700,000 a month. They are not tapped to assist in development of this nation. SST has caused price increases in many sectors, costs of living is similar to BN era.
This is utterly unforgiving PH govt for a rakyat who voted you in.

Factory workers caught between a rock and a hard place

Factory workers caught between a rock and a hard place

PETALING JAYA: For 42-year-old Priya (not her real name), a normal day at work used to consist of assembling electrical parts at a factory in Bangi but after eight years on the job, she is on her own and struggling to stay afloat, a situation she blames on both her former employers and her trade union.
Priya was one of 150 workers at the factory, most of whom were in their 50s. She also chaired a trade union for electrical workers, a position she held for three years until her sudden retrenchment in September.
She told FMT she and nine others were called “out of the blue” by their employers, who told them they would all be fired in August.
All 10 of them were union members, she added, claiming that they were let go without written notice and in violation of proper procedures.
“All 10 of us were fired at different intervals,” she said. “Some were held back to work for a few more months while others were let go with no notice.”
In her case, she only received a termination letter one month after her dismissal.
She has been out of a job for two months now, and her savings are rapidly depleting.
She suspects her dismissal was linked to her active work as a unionist.
She told FMT she had vehemently opposed her employers’ move to impose a RM300 limit on medical claims which she claimed was never underlined in the workers’ contracts.
“I was the one who questioned them and asked why they suddenly imposed a limit on medical claims.
“This was never the case before. We just had a panel where we would go to apply for MCs, and they never put a ceiling on them,” she said, adding that RM300 was only enough for about three clinic visits.
She also alleged that she had been targeted by her employers during working hours.
She claimed she was forced to work at eight different assembly stations each day, putting together electrical parts.
But as frustrated as she was with her employers, Priya said her union was no better.
She said it asked for RM7 every month as membership fees but did not do its job.
“We understood and accepted our employers’ decision,” she said. “But when they wanted to cease our employment, they did not follow standard procedures.
“We asked the union if employers could forego standard procedures, but they said that was the right of the employers.
“And when we complained, they took the concerns up with the human resources department instead of talking to the workers directly.”
Trade unions and factory employers in Malaysia are governed by the Trade Unions Act and the Industrial Relations Act, among others.
Trade union organisations are meant to oversee the welfare of their members.
However, an official at the Department of Trade Union Affairs at the human resources ministry said whether a union takes up a particular case of suspected labour rights violations depends on its constitution.
Mooi Poh Kong, who is in charge of the department’s legal and enforcement division, told FMT Priya’s case would come under the Industrial Relations Act.
“She could file a complaint under the act within 60 days for reinstatement,” he said.
He added that trade unions could assist members in taking their cases to court, and could even represent them if they had the expertise. However, not many trade unions in Malaysia have the required skills.
Klang MP Charles Santiago, who is vocal on issues pertaining to labour rights, said there had been a number of violations in Priya’s case.
“They were given notice of termination only after they were fired,” he said, adding that workers must be given a reason for their dismissal.
“Employers have to terminate them by the number of years they have been working. There’s a formula involved.”
He said the best thing for the workers to do was to go to the labour office and take the matter up at court.
But, he said, the trade union should have fought for them.
“The union was irresponsible and did not perform the way it should have.”
Betty Yeoh, an NGO activist and former secretary of the women’s wing of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, agreed.
She said the union should have taken steps to ensure that the workers’ termination was justified and that their rights were not abused.
“It should have ensured that a proper investigation was carried out and submitted a domestic inquiry.”
However, she acknowledged that trade unions and labour movements in the country were often restricted due to a number of factors including labour laws such as the Trade Unions Act and the Industrial Relations Act.
She called for a review of such laws and amendments to be made where necessary.
“There should also be dialogue between employers and the government to seek the improvement of labour rights,” she said.
“We should also strengthen the knowledge of trade union officers and members regarding their roles and responsibilities.”
When contacted, a representative for the factory’s human resources department told FMT it was a unionised company.
“We already took up the matter with the trade union before termination.”

Monday, 4 May 2015

May Day Celebrations Marred by Arrests

This year’s May Day is clouded by many government actions against workers and their defenders. The Human Resources Minister has denied the workers of this country an increase in the Minimum Wage that was due on 1 January this year. This has been compounded by the imposition of the GST which is a burden on the ordinary worker. How will a worker on minimum of RM 900 pay for the GST? The workers certainly have been burdened by this government.
May Day 2015

The senseless and unwarranted arrests of human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, parliamentarian, editors, a cartoonist is the government’s strategy in covering up from public view the real issues of the Malaysian economy and its effects on ordinary Malaysians.
Trying to remain legitimate the police used the courts to slam a May Day rally in Kota Kinabalu to curb protests on the burden of Goods Services Tax (GST) on people’s lives.
May Day, 2015
We condemn these arrests and harassment of these individuals and groups who speak of the injustices to the people of Malaysia and the government’s disrespect for their dignity.

The tactics the government uses are to:
1. Create panic, fear and
2. strain the resources of individuals and groups – families and groups kept busy outside lockups
The methods used are:
1. Those arrested are punished or harassed but no investigation is done
2. Arresting people in the middle of the night or use kidnap tactics
3. Charging individuals on baseless grounds
4. To censor social media – through blogs, twitter, facebooks, web news and others
5. Using the courts to rubber stamp the policing
Speeches at KLCC, Jalan Ampang
These tactics by the government of Najib Tun Razak is to shroud the public on the shady deals on 1MDB (1 Malaysia Development Berhad), the high prices of goods such as cars and medicine. He U-turned on many of his promises and one of them, the repealing the Sedition Act; launched a weak budget burdening the people of Malaysia with GST. Before the launch of the 11th Malaysia Plan no shortcomings or achievements were made of the 10th Malaysia Plan. The 10th Malaysia Plan was to see the growth of Small Medium Enterprise (SME) as it contributed 33% to the GDP in 2013. But it has dwindled by 10% which means an increase in unemployment.
The present Inspector General of Police (IGP) has misused his powers and is a puppet of the Barisan Nasional (the ruling party) whose aim is to keep ordinary citizens shrouded in fear and clueless about the actual state of this nation. The police force in this country can longer be trusted to keep the security and uphold the safety and well-being of the people of this country.

We demand that
1. The GST be withdrawn
2. The minimum wage be increased from RM900 to RM1,500 per month so workers are able to live dignified life
3. The IGP be sacked to restore the confidence in the police force
4. To stop the harassment, detention and arrests of people who have the fundamental right to assemble and express their grievances against injustices.
5. The government be transparent in all its policies.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Protest at the Cambodian Embassy

On a rainy morning on 10th Jan, 2014, unions and a few NGOs were at the Royal Cambodian Embassy to protest on the State's violent treatment of Cambodian workers in their own country. We met the third Secretary of the Embassy to hand in our protest letter. The workers demanded for minimum wage but was beaten violently by police and locked up in a notorious prison meant for hardened criminals. MTUC, TNB Junior Officers union, Dignity International, Suaram, Jerit, Committee for Asian Women and Persatuan Sahabat Wanita members were there.
In the embassy meeting the  of the third secretary of the embassy. In the foreground on left is Lee Siew Hwa representating the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, Irene Xavier representing Committee for Asian Women

Minimum Wage vs Living Wage in Asia

The exchange rate 1Euro equals to Malaysian Ringgit RM4.33 (10 Jul, 2014). The minimum wage in Malaysia is RM900 and Living wage is RM1,564.04. The minimum wage is 54% of the Living Wage.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Living Wage Campaign

Living wage campaign
Source: IndustriALL.globalunion
Poverty wages have a devastating impact on workers, in Cambodia thousands of malnourished workers have fainted in the last 2 years and in Bangladesh workers are being forced to survive on a dollar a day.

From Africa to Asia and Latin America the Living Wage is a global issue and central to the Decent Work Agenda. IndustriALL is campaigning on this issue with its affiliates.

What about Malaysia? Why are unions afraid of the living wage? Why are employers wary of minimum wage? How do we convince Members of Parliament (MPs) of a living wage rather than a minimum wage? There is a hue and cry about the minimum wage there would be a tsunami if it came to living wage. But could we convince them? Questions and more questions ... hopefully the following articles can shed light on a "long and narrow tunnel".

For more read this.

South African garment workers strike on low wages
10,000 Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) members embarked on a two day protected strike action against continued undermining of the clothing bargaining council and payment of wages below the legally prescribed levels.
For more read this.

SACTWU steps up the fight for a living wage
The Southern African Clothing and Textile Worker Union (SACTWU) put together national sectoral demands and an aggressive programme of action based on the 16,000 living wage demands collected from its members.
For more read this.

Minimum wage needed to push back exploitation in Uganda
In February 2013, the Ugandan government agreed to renew efforts to establish a minimum wage, after decades of immobility on the matter.
For more read this.

Home  About IndustriALL Global Union
IndustriALL Global Union represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors and is a new force in global solidarity taking up the fight for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Malaysia: Minimum wages for all

Malaysia: Minimum wages for all | 

Pic courtesy of
14.02.2013 Malaysian trade unions and civil society called on the Malaysian government to withdraw the recent cabinet decision that allow the employer to deduct from the migrant workers’ wages of the amount employer paid to the government to employ foreign workers.

In July 2012 the Malaysian government announced that workers in Malaysia would receive minimum wages of RM 900[USD291] (for Peninsular Malaysia) and RM800 [USD259] (for Sabah and Sarawak). The announcement came into force from 1 January 2013. The minimum wage is a basic wage excluding overtime, existing allowances and other benefits. However, to avoid paying minimum wages some employers calculate other benefits as part of minimum wage and some force workers to sign that they received minimum wages, while actually paying them less.
For more see
The US minimum wage earner's RM24.29/hour compare this to
Malaysia's minimum wage earner of RM4.33/hour of which
RM2.21 goes to 3.8Litres of milk and s/he has to work 1/2 hour
just to get 3.8L of milk. Pic courtesy of