PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has trained its guns on errant employers following a rise in “dishonest acts” to defraud their workers, particularly when it comes to their compensation.
MTUC secretary-general J Solomon told FMT some employers were constantly seeking ways to hire and fire workers with no regard for the impact such practices have on workers.
He also said it was uncertain how much of this was due to discrimination.
“In such instances, the employers must be held to account for not honouring their contractual obligations, such as paying wages as stipulated, failing to provide employees with payslips and not remitting statutory deductions or contributions to the relevant authorities as required,” he said.
Another possible reason for this trend, he noted, is because of a lack of awareness on the part of workers of their rights at the workplace and their work contracts.
He said employment contracts do not necessarily need to be in writing.
“In cases where there is a written contract, the worker should always keep a copy as this might help avoid disagreements on terms and conditions of work.”
Solomon said many young workers, even those with tertiary education, lacked knowledge on their rights at the workplace because they have not learnt about trade unions.
“People just take for granted the many gains made over the years by the trade union movement.”
Workers must be made aware that they can initiate complaints when their rights are not respected, he said.
Otherwise, they will be left unprotected and without social security protection and superannuation (pension) benefits.
“Young people should be exposed to core values and rights in the workplace while they are in school. These must be further emphasised in tertiary education.”
Solomon also noted that “over-reliance” on foreign workers was the main problem facing the industrial sector in the country, particularly in the manufacturing and service industries.
He added that the mass media, both print and electronic, should play a bigger role in educating workers on their rights.
“Many workers, who are covered by employment laws, may not be aware of their rights.”
But employers’ organisations must also be held responsible if they do not “ensure integrity in their conduct”.