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Rubber sector: Include key unions in taskforce on labour legislation and policy compliance

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The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) takes notice of the formation of a taskforce to ensure that employers in the rubber-based industry comply with laws safeguarding the welfare of employees including migrant workers.

Human Resources Minister M Saravanan’s announcement is timely given that the Malaysian rubber production sector, specifically rubber glove manufacturers, have come under the radar of importing nations for violation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) forced labour indicators.

Whilst welcoming the formation of the taskforce, we are left wondering whether it has included workers’ representatives. Nothing in the minister’s announcement seems to indicate that was the case. The minister ought to ensure that the worker’s representation is included in the taskforce.

The National Union Of Employees In Companies Manufacturing Rubber Products (NUECMRP) has been representing workers from the rubber manufacturing sector since its inception in 1962. So the union must be a component of the taskforce.

The MTUC, as the national trade union centre, also ought to be part of the ministry-initiated taskforce.

A failure to expand the composition of the taskforce to include the NUEMCRP and the MTUC would negate the core objectives of the taskforce for the simple reason there will be no input from the labour movement in all deliberations centred on the compliance with labour legislation and policies by rubber sector employers.

We therefore call upon the minister to ensure that the NUEMCRP and the MTUC are represented in taskforce on labour legislation and policy compliance in the rubber sector.

K Veeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress

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