Get Putrajaya to sign convention for all workers to unionise, MTUC urges ILO

Malaysian officials and the ILO signed the Decent Work Country Programme agreement in Geneva today. From left are MTUC secretary-general J Solomon, MEF vice-president A Ramadas, Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran and ILO deputy director and area manager Tamako Nishimoto.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today urged the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to convince Putrajaya to ratify Convention 87 (C87), which deals with the freedom of association of workers, including migrants.

Ratifying C87 will allow workers to unionise and ensure migrant workers enjoy the same benefits as Malaysian workers.

MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said the new government had shown some commitment to reform “archaic” labour laws but ratifying C87 would be the most important.

He was speaking at the closing of ILO’s centenary conference after the signing of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) by Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran, ILO, Malaysian Employers Federation and MTUC.

The text of his speech was released here.

“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.

“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.

Among the binding articles in the Convention are:

· Workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organisation concerned, join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation;.

· Workers’ and employers’ organisations shall 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; and,

· The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise of their functions and activities.

Solomon said it was important for the ILO to convince the Malaysian government to ratify C87 because workers from all over the world were coming to Malaysia to work.

He said the situation involving the treatment of migrant labour here was reaching a critical level.

Solomon said for the signing of the DWCP to be meaningful, the Malaysian government and MEF should incorporate elements from the document in the proposed labour reforms.