DAP calls on Minister of Labour, Tan Sri Manickavasagam, to personally intervene to settle the 17-day Thung Pao strike and the 26-day Ong Yoke Lin strike to protect the legitimate interests and rights of workers
I have today written to the Minister of Labour, Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam, asking him to personally intervene in the 17-day Thung Pao strike and the 26-day Sharikat Ong Yoke Lin strike to reach a settlement which will uphold legitimate rights and interests of the workers.
Yesterday, accompanied by the Chairman of DAP Labour Bureau, Sdr. Lee Lam Thye, who is also Selangor State Assemblyman, and DAP CEC Member, Sdr. Chain Heng Kai, I visited the Sharikat Ong Yoke Lin strikes. It is clear that this is another case of anti-union management which do not want to see workers organised into a union to more effective represent workers’ interests.
I raised the dispute of the Sharikat Ong Yoke Lin workers in Parliament during the Budget debate in Parliament on January 18, and the Labour Minister, Tan Sri Manickavasagam, had told me that he would look into the dispute.
It is noteworthy that the Sharikat Ong Loke Lin management, although ordered by the Ministry of Labour on June 12, 1973 to recognise the employees’ union, the National Union of Commercial Workers, had refused to negotiate in good faith with the union over claims for salary revision, bonus, and cost of living allowance.
The Sharikat Ong Yoke Lin management had victimised and harassed union members by pay reductions, paying members bonus of half month salary while non-members get a bonus of one month salary and an additional $50 ‘ang pow’.
This is a clear case of anti-union management, and the Minister of Labour should not delay any longer but intervene to ensure that workers get industrial justice.
The Thung Pao strike has gone on for 13 days and the Ministry of Labour has failed to settle the strike without sacrificing the legitimate trade union claims for the reinstatement of the dismissed journalists.
The Minister of Labour, Tan Sri Manickavasagam, now that he has returned to his post, should actively intervene and get the management to reinstate the dismissed journalists and accord to the journalists their full right to be trade union members and purse their trade union rights.
It is a matter for regret that although two weeks have transpired since the strike, the Ministry of Labour has failed to use its full powers to influence the management to reach a settlement and reconciliation with the striking journalists on the basis of the full reinstatement of dismissed employees.
The Acting Minister for Labour and Manpower, Datuk Lee San Choon, has failed to help the journalists. The Labour Minister, Tan Sri Manickavasagam, should not fail the journalists this time.