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Malaysian union calls on government to respect ILO decision and reinstate workers

21 August, 2023Malaysia’s National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW) is urging Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to provide remedy for the five unionists unfairly dismissed by Hicom Automotive Manufacturers. 

The IndustriALL Global Union affiliate held a protest outside the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya and submitted a memorandum urging the anti-union discrimination at HICOM Automotive to stop and the five unionists reinstated to their original positions with back pay.

NUTEAIW general secretary and IndustriALL ExCo member Gopal Kishnam Nadesan said:

“I urge the new Prime Minister to take bold action against the company as the ILO committee on Freedom of Association ruled that HICOM Automotive violated freedom of association.

“Malaysia has an international obligation to comply with the provision on prohibition of anti-union discrimination in the ILO Convention 98 on Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining. The government ratified the international convention in 1961.”

Haikhidil Bin Jamaludin, one of the dismissed unionists dismissed unionists, said:

“We, the workers, have the right to attend union activities after working hours. The company shouldn’t punish us for joining legitimate union activities protected by the law. We have been out of a job for seven years, it is an unjust act of the company. We urge the Prime Minister to intervene and protect our rights.”

The five unionists were dismissed in 2016 after joining a union briefing on the status of collective bargaining outside the HICOM Automotive premise after working hours. The company accused the unionists of tarnishing the image of the company.

In 2021, IndustriALL and NUTEAIW filed a complaint at the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association. The international body ruled in June 2022 that HICOM Automotive violated workers’ freedom of association.  

On receiving the memorandum from NUTEAIW, the political secretary of the Prime Minister, Chan Ming Kai, said the Prime Minister’s office will look into the complaint and revert to the union.

IndustriALL regional secretary for South East Asia Shinya Iwai said:

“IndustriALL stands in solidarity with the struggle for protecting workers’ rights in Malaysia. We will continue to monitor the dispute and provide update to the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association.”