KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has asked the United Nations global labour centre to use all within its means to get Malaysia to ratify Convention 87 (C87), which deals with the fundamental freedom of association of all workers, including migrants.
Speaking at the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) centenary conference in Geneva on Thursday, MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said the new Malaysian government had shown some commitment to reform the archaic labour laws but ratifying C87 will be the most important, as the millions of migrant workers will be represented by unions.
Among the binding articles in the Convention is that workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, would have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organisation concerned, to join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation.
Workers’ and employers’ organisations would have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, to organise their administration and activities and to formulate their programmes, MTUC said.
He was speaking at the closing of the session after the signing of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) by Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran, ILO, the Malaysian Employers Federation and the MTUC in Geneva. The text of his speech was released here.
Besides this, Solomon said, public authorities should refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.
“Ratifying this Convention would allow all migrant workers to join unions of their choice and prevent their exploitation which is happening now.
“The spirit of the proposed labour reforms by the new Pakatan Harapan government will free these workers from bondage and exploitation,“ he said.
“This ratification will also mean that foreign workers will enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by all Malaysian workers. Malaysia must ratify C87 as soon as possible,“ he said.
Solomon said the ILO should play a key role on convincing the Malaysian government as this involved workers from all over the world coming to Malaysia to earn a decent living, adding that the situation here is reaching a critical level.
Solomon said for the signing of DWCP to be meaningful and not just a ceremony with much fanfare, the Malaysian government and MEF should incorporate the elements from this document in the proposed labour reforms as it would be meaningless otherwise.
“The onus is also on the ILO to use its influence here,“ he added. — Bernama