Workers have right to protest, says MTUC

Workers voicing their grouses against GST and minimum wage at Dataran Kemerdekaan in Shah Alam. — Pictures by Azinuddin Ghazali
Workers voicing their grouses against GST and minimum wage at Dataran Kemerdekaan in Shah Alam. — Pictures by Azinuddin Ghazali

SHAH ALAM, May 2 — Union busting has led to the lack of recognition of trade unions by employers, leading to a controlled and unjust working system, said the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).

Secretary-general N Gopal Kishnam said there were instances where employers had denied workers' their rights by having one-on-one negotiations with union members.

“The employer would purposely add pressure to the union heads and its members by terminating their employment, as was in the case of the National Union of Tobacco Industry Workers.

“The police arrested 11 picketing workers near a factory at Jalan University, Petaling Jaya,” he said at the Labour Day rally at Dataran Kemerdekaan in Shah Alam yesterday.

“Workers have a right to picket and protest. It is stated in the (Industrial Relations) act that unions should use it to seek justice and fight for their rights, but look at what happened in the end.”

He also said the authorities always got involved in union organised protests and victimised the workers with unnecessary litigation.

Gopal also highlighted that lower income workers were not taken into consideration with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“How are those with incomes below the poverty line suppose to live when studies have shown that the price of goods have increased by 20 per cent since GST was introduced?” he asked.

Gopal said MTUC demanded the minimum wage be adjusted to RM1,200 for economic balance.

He added workers had the right to obtain fair wages for survival and income inequality was increasing to a level that was not sustainable.

“This causes social issues where the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, so it is important to find a balance for the sake of economical development,” he said.

“This will ensure the majority of Malaysians can live life and contribute to the economical growth of the country.”

Related Articles