PETALING JAYA: More than 20 workers’ unions today unveiled a collective five-point workers manifesto which pressed for political undertakings on workers’ rights ahead of the crucial 13th general election.
Grouped under the coalition of Malaysia Workers Network (MWN), they called for politicians to pledge to provide RM1,500 floor wage per month, recognise workers’ rights, provide social security protection, improve workers’ health and security conditions and uplift workers’ well-being.
“There are 12.4 million workers in the country. They are the single largest voter group,” said National Union of Drinks Industry Workers Peninsular Malaysia (Nudiw) Internal Relations Officer A Sivananthan.
The manifesto was fully endorsed by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) at the end of a three-hour launch here today.
On the other hand, DAP agreed to all but the floor wage demand, as it went against the Pakatan Rakyat’s proposal of RM1,200 a month.
At the press conference later, Oppressed People Network (Jerit) national coordinator S Parames explained the RM1,500 floor wage was fixed after taking into account workers’ expenses on house rental, child care and basic necessities.
“We consider RM1,500 as a fair demand because the workers could use the money for self consumption In contrast, the rich capitalists would only use their extra money for investments,” he said.
RM900 too low
Sivanathan argued that RM1,500 mimumum wage proposal would not crush the employers because they were making profits and could afford such floor wage for workers.
He also said that the RM900 minimum wage introduced by federal government beginning this year could not be applied to today’s situation.
Meanwhile, in a booklet distributed by the group, it was claimed that the rights of workers had been curtailed through the amendments of Industrial Relations Act 1967 and Employment Act 1955.
“Such activities have severed relations between workers and employers as the latter were freed from the obligations to provide contibutions to the employees’ provident fund (EPF) and annual leave,” it said.
On the social security protection demand, it urged for the Retirement Age Act 2012 to be immediately implemented instead of waiting for July.
The workers’ health and security demand asked for Social Security Organisation scheme (Socso) to provide 24 hours protection to workers, as compared to the current one which only covers a worker’s working hours.
The workers’ welfare demand requested for a cease of privatisation practice and the abolition of Goods and Services Tax (GST).