PETALING JAYA, April 7 — The Education Ministry must be responsible for third-party contract workers in schools not earning the minimum RM900 wage monthly, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said yesterday.
MTUC president Khalid Atan, who raised the matter recently, said at least 60,000 workers, mainly locals hired as guards, cleaners and gardeners, in schools had been affected since the policy was implemented last year.
Khalid said the workers only received between RM400 and RM600, which was not enough for them to pull through the month.
“Although the ministry does not directly employ the workers, it gives the authorisation to the third party to hire these workers. Therefore, something should be done to ensure they are not cheated,” he said.
Khalid was commenting on Deputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan’s remarks on Saturday claiming the ministry was not responsible for salaries paid to the contract workers.
Kamalanathan said the ministry would definitely pay the workers the minimum wage if they were directly hired by the ministry.
Khalid said with the rising cost of living, the workers were frustrated as they were unable to cope with their monthly expenses.
He pointed out that the minimum wage issue was still unresolved as the implementation was delayed several times last year.
“It was first supposed to be implemented on Jan 1 last year. However, due to the lack of enforcement, private companies which hired these workers were given an extension up to July 1,” he said.
“We received complaints from the workers after July, only for the ministry to then announce the law would be made compulsory from January 1 this year.”
He said despite the implementation being postponed several times to accommodate employers, MTUC still received complaints from employees.
Khalid said this proved that certain parties were still not obeying the law.
“MTUC is compiling all the complaints and we will obtain the list of companies which are underpaying their workers. We want to ensure this problem is resolved as soon as possible,” he said.
He said if the ministry did not have sufficient manpower to monitor the situation, MTUC was more than willing to work together with them to resolve the issue.
“We will do anything to address this issue as soon as possible to ensure these employees receive what they are entitled to,” he added.