The new labour amendments
The government’s amendments to the Emergency labour laws are a big farce. Under these amendments, the right and lot of the workers of Malaysia are even worse off than before the May 13 Emergency.
After May 13 Emergency, the Alliance Government passed sweeping restrictive labour laws to cripple the cause of labour. Such measures include:
1. Prohibition of trade union officials from holding office in political parties;
2. Denial of the right of dismissed employees to union representation and industrial action; and
3. Prohibiton of public sector employees from federating with private-sector workers.
The latest labour amendments leave these three restrictive measures intact.
The government does not want trade union officials from holding political office because the government is determined to deny trade union and workers the right to seek political redress of their grievances and injustices.
Workers and trade unions must once and for all realise that when they are denied political redress of theor injustices and grievances, they are denied all redress. This is because every anti-labour legislation and act of the government is a political act, and a political decision is required to undo these anti-labour laws and acts, by putting political pressure on the government to modify its anti-labour stand.
So long as the trade unions and workers are denied political representation inside and outside Parliament, the trade union movement will remain as ineffective and emasculated as it has shown up to now.
These amendments have clearly proved tat Inche V.Manickavasagam is not the Minister of Labour, but the Minister for Employers.
This is the time for all workers and trade unions to unite as one to work for:
1. the removal from office of Mr.V.Maickavasagam as Minister of Labour, as he has proved throughout his whole tenure as Labour Minister to be incapable of protecting the interests of workers; and for having actively worked against labour interests;
2. the repeal of all anti-labour legislation and the enactment of pro-labour legislation.
I have had occasion to express my shock and horror at the tame and timid manner the Malayan Trades Union Congress had reacted to the great bodily blows to the cause of labour all these years.
In return for the crippling anti-labour legislation by Inche Manikavasagam, the MTUC awarded him with the Presidency of the International Labour Organisation. At times, we hear of the President of the MTUC talking as if he had been given the power of attorney to act as Minister of Labour.
I hope I will not have occasion in future to say the same things about the MYUS, which must now show leadership, imagination and dedication to rally workers to take an uncompromising stand against the government’s anti-labour laws. It will then have the DAP’s full support.