KUCHING (May 2): The Labor Law Reform Coalition praised the government for implementing the RM1,500 minimum wage, but regretted that domestic workers were excluded.
Its chairman, N. Gopal Kishnam, therefore urged the government to further amend the minimum wage ordinance to include domestic workers.
“Today, workers in Malaysia face a huge challenge to get a living wage, a safer and healthier working environment due to a lack of bargaining power,” he said in a statement. communicated on the occasion of Labor Day.
Gopal said Malaysia had a set of regressive and draconian labor laws inherited from the colonialists, which unreasonably restricted the right of workers to form unions of their choice and their right to strike.
He observed that the general population’s awareness of workers’ rights was low because the community lacked effective popular labor education, either among worker groups or in the country’s education system.
“The widespread violation of migrant workers’ rights, especially forced labor, can no longer be ignored by the labor movement.
“Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed many weaknesses in our social protection system, including lack of investment in health care, food banks and unemployment insurance,” he said. underline.
To address these challenges, Gopal said Malaysia must strengthen its trade union movement by promoting a culture of inclusion and cooperation between trade unions, workers’ organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and global partners.
“Without a unified labor movement and a theory of change, we cannot win this battle.”
As such, Gopal called on all trade unions, workers’ organizations and NGOs to work closely together to reform the country’s labor laws until they are in line with international labor standards.
He said, “We need to work on popular labor education as a strategy to boost organizing and collective bargaining.
“Let us strengthen our solidarity with migrant workers and make efforts to fight against forced labor in the workplace. We must continue to advocate for an increase in social spending to ensure a decent health system, food security for all and an adequate unemployment insurance system.
“Labour Law Reform Coalition wishes all workers in Malaysia a Happy Labor Day,” he added.