KUALA LUMPUR: In the light of employers ramping up warnings of a double-digit hike in unemployment in the coming months, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has urged the government to not allow local and foreign workers in the country to become “sitting ducks” for retrenchment by bosses.
Its secretary-general, J Solomon, said the government should do all it can to protect the livelihood of employees, as most of them are from the B40 hardcore poor who are already struggling to sustain themselves and their families.
“The human resources ministry (MOHR) must convene an urgent meeting of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) to plug the ongoing retrenchments taking place and prevent the many more that are in the pipeline as the MEF (Malaysian Employers Federation) has warned.
“The government clearly needs to think out of the box and formulate new approaches to ensure workers retain their jobs,” he said in a statement today.
However, he said the MTUC remains convinced that the government has noble objectives in introducing various forms of assistance to help workers retain their jobs as the country attempts to kick-start the economy.
Introduce law to stop workers being laid off
Meanwhile, Solomon said the MTUC will push for the government to introduce the Emergency Employment Regulations to prohibit employers from laying off workers for a specific period.
“Although many employers have balked at this proposal, it should be discussed at the NLAC to give us the chance to defend it with sound reasons,” he said.
According to him, the MEF yesterday warned that the 5% unemployment rate in the country, by far the worst in 30 years, would go up as high as 12% before the middle of next year.
“We urge the MOHR and the government in general not to make light or trivialise MEF warnings of unemployment hitting 12% in the coming months by saying it has the necessary mechanisms in place to deal with.
“In the absence of further government intervention, workers, especially the lowly-paid ones, face the real risk of losing their jobs if they have not already.
“We urge the government not to let them become easy pickings for employers obsessed with their bottom lines,” he said.
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