Ex-MP Claims That Many Labour Unions May Aid In Pay Negotiations.



According to Charles Santiago, a former member of parliament for Klang, the new Trade Unions Act 1959 modification, which permits the creation of many trade unions in Malaysia, can help workers by facilitating talks for greater pay and a fair share of business income. 

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The former MP based his judgement on his prior experiences in Indonesia, where he saw higher productivity in factories with different trade unions. He mentioned how having two or three trade unions encouraged rivalry amongst them in the struggle for worker rights including pay equity, overtime pay, and protection from discrimination. Santiago proposed that one of the causes of Malaysia’s low salaries was the absence of trade unions in the nation.

Trade unions can only bargain and demand greater pay when they have a larger membership. If not, the employers will assume that they are correct on the compensation, he stated.

Related link: Maintain Minimum Wage While Progressive Wage Policy Remains Voluntary

An amendment to the Trade Unions Act 1959 was enacted earlier in October by the Dewan Rakyat, the lower house of Malaysia’s bicameral Parliament and federal legislature. This change will permit the creation of several trade unions in any business, trade, vocation, or industry.

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The Coalition against Multiplicity of Unions, for example, expressed disapproval of this, stating that having many unions “defeats the very concept of the unity of workers.” However, this was not well received. 

Another such opponent was Zouhair Rosli, Socioeconomic Director of the Social Protection Contributors Advisory Association Malaysia, who said that the proliferation of unions will hinder the Malaysian government’s efforts to raise salaries.

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According to Free Malaysia Today, Santiago supported the most recent amendment but also advocated for trade unions to actively interact with present MPs in order to press for changes in employees’ rights. Santiago stated that nothing should prevent unions from doing this.

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