Home Civil Society Voices Employment Act amendments: Groups make seven key demands

Employment Act amendments: Groups make seven key demands

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We, the undersigned trade unions, migrant worker organisations and non-governmental organsations, call upon the federal government to accept our 46 recommendations on amending the Employment Act 1955.

There are seven key demands:

1) Employment Act for the whole of Malaysia and right to work

The Employment Act should cover peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. It should cover all local and migrant workers and protect foreign spouses of Malaysians and refugees’ right to work. The salary cap should be removed.

2) 40 hours of work

The Employment Act must adhere to international standards and reduce the length of the working week from 48 hours to 40 hours (five-day work)

3) 98 days of maternity leave

An employer has an obligation to ensure mothers and children get the best start in life.

4) Permanent employment for permanent job tasks

The growth of contract work is an attack on the job security of working people.

5) No discrimination

Employer should not discriminate against a job seeker or worker on the grounds of gender, religion, race, language, disability, trade union, marital status, pregnancy, parental status or citizenship.

6) Stop sexual harassment

All written codes of conduct including codes of conduct on sexual harassment should be fully enforced to curb sexual harassment.

7) Protect migrant workers from exploitation

The government should protect migrant workers’ right to enjoy equal benefits stipulated in labour laws, for example their right to join unions and to seek redress. Their passports should not be confiscated by employers.

We urge Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran to make public the Employment Act amendments as soon as possible before tabling the bill in the parliament in April 2019.

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Our full proposal was sent to the Ministry of Human Resources on 9 January 2019. But we have neither received any response from ministry officials nor an invitation to deliberate on our recommendations.

This definitely contradicts the early statement by Kula Segaran that the ministry would consult stakeholders on the amendment of the Employment Act.

We wish to remind the minister that with the endorsement of 53 workers’ organisations across the country and at least four consultation meetings with grassroot workers, our proposal has a strong mandate that ought to be viewed seriously by the government.

We hereby launch our nationwide decent work campaign, which aims to lobby policymakers to accept our recommendations and to create public awareness of the right to work, social dialogue, social protection and employment security.

Since the May 2018 change of government in Malaysia, trade unions and labour non-governmental groups have been working together (in the Decent Work Working Group) to develop a collective package of proposed legal reforms. These reforms would bring Malaysian labour law into compliance with International Labour Organization core standards and the decent work framework.

Endorsed by:

Malaysian trade unions:

  1. Amalgamated Union of Employees in Government Clerical and Allied Services (AUEGCAS)
  2. Association of Bank Officers Peninsular Malaysia (Abom)
  3. Beverage Industry Executive Staff Union
  4. Electronic Industry Employees Union Eastern Region
  5. Electronic Industry Employees Union Northern Region
  6. Electronic Industry Employees Union Southern Region
  7. Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region
  8. Electrical Industry Workers’ Union
  9. Food Industry Employees’ Union
  10. Genting Malaysia Bhd Executive Union
  11. Insurance Industry Employees Union
  12. Kesatuan Kakitangan Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Kapenas)
  13. Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Amanah Ikthiar
  14. Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Dipsol (M) Sdn Bhd
  15. Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Perindustrian
  16. Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Perkilangan Perusahaan Makanan
  17. Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Perusahaan Kumpulan UMW
  18. Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Southern Waste
  19. Kesatuan Penyelia-Penyelia Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama Bhd
  20. Kesatuan Pencantuman Pekerja
  21. Malayan Nurses Union
  22. Malaysian Rubber Board Staff Union
  23. Metal Industry Employees Union (MIEU)
  24. National Union of Commercial Workers
  25. National Union of Petroleum, Chemical Industries Workers
  26. National Union of Seafarers Peninsular Malaysia (NUSPM)
  27. National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP)
  28. National Union of Telecommunication Employers (NUTE)
  29. National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW)
  30. National Union workers in the Shoe Manufacturing Industries
  31. Paper & Paper Products Manufacturing Employees Union
  32. Penang Port Workers Union
  33. Printing industry employees union peninsular Malaysia
  34. Sabah Medical Services Union
  35. Timber Employees’ Union Peninsular Malaysia (TEUPM)
  36. Union of Employees of Port Anciliary Services Supplier
  37. Union of Employees of Construction Industry (UECI)
  38. Union of Employees in Private Medical Health Services
  39. Union of Employees in Trade Unions (UETU)
  40. Union of Pos Malaysia Clerical Workers (UPCW)
  41. University of Malaya General Staff Union (UMGSU)
  42. UNI – Malaysia Labour Centre (UNI-MLC)
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Global union federations:

  1. Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI)
  2. IndustriALL Global Union Federation

Non-governmental organisations:

  1. Decent Work Working Group (DWWG)
  2. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
  3. Muglan-Migrants Advisor
  4. Non Resident Tharu Society
  5. North South Initiative (NSI)
  6. Pakistani Christian Refugee Fellowship (PCRF)
  7. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  8. Serantau
  9. Tenaganita
  10. Foreign Spouses Support Group Malaysia (FSSG)
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