KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has vowed to continue fighting for a six-hour work week, after its initial bid for the new working hour arrangements to the government was rejected.
MTUC secretary-general N. Gopal Krishnan said that the suggestion is not only intended for civil servants but all 14.2 million workers, including foreigners and private sector employees, Malay daily Berita Harian reported.
"The plan was already submitted to the government two years ago. It was made after we researched the implementation of the said working hours in several European nations and Scandinavia.
"Other countries in this region such as Thailand and Vietnam also practise the system. Though may developed countries opt for the six-hour work schedule, it did not deter their productivity," he was quoted saying.
Gopal reportedly told the daily that MTUC would be meeting with the Human Resource Ministry again to table the union's suggestion.
Gopal said that a six-hour work week would reduce medical leave days, apart from stimulating productivity.
On October 5, MTUC reiterated its demands for Malaysia to move to a six-hour work day following the introduction of the policy in Sweden.
Local daily Harian Metro reported today MTUC president Mohd Khalid Atan as saying that the change in work hours was crucial for employee health in Malaysia.
Yesterday, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa said existing working hours for civil servants will remain, amid a proposal to introduce six-hour work days for the civil service.
He said the proposal from the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Service (Cuepacs) had been studied and found to be detrimental to the civil service.
In Sweden, companies ranging from startups to retirement homes have been experimenting with a six-hour work day policy in recent years.
However, recent reports say the majority of companies in the Scandinavian country are still practicing the typical 40-hour work week.