Sunday, October 3, 2010

1 oktober - Kempen Bantah Pindaan Akta Pekerja dilancar

Bulan Oktober memang bulan yang baik untuk aksi. Hari ini satu sidang akhbar diadakan untuk membantah cubaan meminda Akta Pekerjaan dalam sesi parlimen yang akan datang. Sidang akhbar juga dihadiri oleh Bar Council, JERIT, Empower, PRM, DEMA, WAO dan wakil pekerja. Semua mendesak akta ini tidak diimplemtasi. Saya melabel akta ini sebagai akta paling kejam yang akan menghancurkan gerakan Kesatuan Sekeerja dan masa depan kaum pekerja.

Teks ucapan saya penuh adalah dalam Bahasa Inggeris seperti dibawah:


1 OCTOBER 2010
1. Parti Sosialis Malaysia is proud to be in this coalition to oppose the draconian Amendment to the Labour Act which has been described by many as the worst in 40 years.

2. Over the years, there have been many amendments to our Labour laws and each of these amendments were done to cater for the needs of the profit orientated investors. Today Malaysia practices cheap labour policy while aspiring to be a high income society.

3. Currently a certain portion of the Employment Act is poised for its second reading in Parliament in the October sitting while there has been plans to amend three other laws – The Industrial Relation Act 1967, The Employment Act 1955 and the Trade Union Act 1959. Each of these amendments is designed to please the FDI and will further erode workers rights

4. PSM along with many other respected groups including the MTUC, The Bar Council, JERIT, SUARAM , leading women and student groups call upon the Minister to immediately stop the proposed amendment on the Labour law during the coming Parliament sitting.

5. Instead we call upon the Government to pass and implement laws which has been long requested by the workers especially the Retrenchment fund , Minimum wage Act and Automatic registration of Trade Unions. In recent weeks, the Government had said that they will be implementing the Minimum wage act next year, but PSM is not convinced. There is simple a lack of political will and it has been the practice of the Government not to implement laws which is opposed by the Employers federation.

6. We see this amendment as a class war declared between the majority workers in this country against the minority capitalist companies who seem to be calling the shots. Sadly this Government unabashedly continues to bow down to please the FDIs and perpetuate the Neo-liberal regimes and playsto the tune of its political masters.

7. A study by the Human Resources Ministry on wages in the country revealed that almost 34 percent or about 1.3 million workers earned less than RM700 a month. The Minister also cited the World Bank study which discovered that the wage trend in Malaysia had only recorded a 2.6 percent growth annually during the past 10 years compared with the increasing cost of living during the same period. The Minister further stated that the Market cannot be trusted entirely.

8. But the current amendments are truly playing to the needs of the corporate sector and the market rather than on the rakyat.

9. The biggest amendment is on the definition of the term employer and the contractualisation of labour. The proposed amendment recognizes a new category of contractor – that is, the Contractor of Labour, whose job is merely to supply labour. Previously, “contractor” is also part and parcel of the work of the principal. Now this amendment recognizes the Contractor of Labour as the “Employer”rather than subservient or responsible to the principal. These changes will surely make it easier to summarily lay off workers. In short the Principal can escape from paying benefits because these wage earners are not his workers.

10. This amendment if passed will the mother of all amendments as it will take away what ever little protection the workers have and will kill off the trade union movement and see an end to permanent work and job security.

11. Among other amendments on the Employment Act are the period of notice of Termination of Contract (Section 12), Section 19 – Time of Payment of Wage, Section 25A – Payment of Wages through Bank, Section 34 - Prohibition of night work, Section 44 and Section 61 on the need for a Register of allowances paid and Section 60A – Hours of Work.

12. Under the proposed amendment to the Industrial Relations Act 1967, the proposed amendments on the Section 20 – Representations on dismissals will now exclude Employees with less than one year of service. Employees earning a basic salary of RM 10,000 or more and Employees with fixed term contract.

13. Besides the amendment to the Employment Act and IRA, there seems to be further plans to curb Trade Union Activities. Under Section 5(2)(B) , Executive & Security categories are now prohibited from being members of trade unions besides that there are plans to empower the DGIR to review status of union which has been given recognition. upon request after a minimum period of five years. The proposed amendment will enable employers to perpetually deny workers collective bargaining rights

14. The modus operandi of the Najib Government is clear. It is all out to implement neo-liberal policies. Its NEM and its RMK10 plans to make Malaysia into a high income society in 2010. How is this possible, when the agenda in hand is to implement the GST (Goods and Services Tax), lowering of subsidy, lessening the Government’s role and enlarging the role of private sectors. A move which will definitely lead to more neo-liberal policies to the detriment of the poor, increasing the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) which can only be carried out by regulating of our market; depressing wages and the tighter labour control / laws. It is clear that the corporate agenda that is driving these amendments, not the needs or welfare of workers.

15. We see the Ministers recent announcement on part-time work is yet another ploy to portray as if the Government is assisting the workers but in actual sense it is an exercise to assist the employers. Labour flexibility goes against the notion of job security. In the first place why must workers work part time jobs if their principle work can afford to pay them sufficiently? Who is going to pay for the social cost of the overworked worker and their shattered family institution? In the long run, the companies will do away with permanent jobs as it is easier to employ part time workers as part time workers is more vulnerable to be exploited and one can be given lesser benefits. It will be also an avenue to further smash the trade unions. If at all, the only benefits will be part time workers will be paid EPF and SOCSO. It is ironic because every worker should be protected at all times during their employment.

16. In view of these, PSM calls for the
1. Stop Tabling this proposed Anti-labor legislation
i. Stop all amendments to our Labour laws which are eroding workers rights
ii. Introduce laws such as Retrenchment fund , Minimum wage Act, Automatic registration of Trade Unions and Priority of Wages & Termination benefits over other Debts (to over ride Companies Act)

2. Immediate steps must be introduced to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor and the need to;
i. Introduce the Minimum Wage Act
ii. Reduce subsidies to Industries and Businesses but maintain subsidies for the poor
iii. Stop all measures to implement the GST and to maintain or increase the corporate tax

3. It is time the Government review its fundamental philosophy. The Tenth Malaysia Plan calls for major role to be played by the Private Sector. It is proven that it is the social and political responsibility of the State to ensure the well being of its workers and the rakyat. We call for Government to safeguard key public sectors such
i. Public hospitals and health care system
ii. Free and affordable Public education system
iii. Affordable and decent homes
iv. Efficient and cheap public transport

Released by :
Secretary General
Parti Sosialis Malaysia

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