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Organizing a top priority for Malaysian unions

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14 May, 2024IndustriALL affiliates in Malaysia are stressing the importance of organizing after the implementation of the Trade Union Act amendments. The amendments make union pluralism and competition within an establishment possible, and Malaysian unions are discussing an agreement on enhanced cooperation in union building.

The draft memorandum, taking inspiration from Philippine affiliates, proposes that affiliates should stay away from organized establishments where an incumbent union is a co-affiliate, and put a dispute settlement mechanism in place in the event of conflicts.

“Most of the affiliates in Malaysia have agreed in principle and are ready to sign the memorandum in the next meeting after further deliberation of union leadership. Trade unions should focus on the 94 percent of workers that are not organized, rather than raiding establishments that already have unions,”

said Gopal Kishnam Nadesan, IndustriALL Malaysia Council secretary, at the IndustriALL Malaysia unity meeting on 2-3 May in Kuala Lumpur. 30 participants from six affiliates participated in the meeting.
Participants highlighted occupational safety and health issues in respective sectors. Electrical and electronics workers concerned about the use of unknown chemicals in factories, some of them suffered slip disc because as operators they are required standing long time at work.
Workers in paper and rubber industries said employers must engage trade unions in regular social dialogues to prevent industrial accidents. Trade unions must be actively participating in the safety and health committee required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.
Sharing the key features of ILO Convention 155 and 187 via Teams, IndustriALL director of mining and DGOJP, Glen Mpufane said monitoring safety and health issues and documenting evidence are part of a trade unionist’s job. He stressed that it is part of the unions’ struggle to create a decent working condition.

“It is of paramount importance to discuss safety and health issues in conjunction with the International Workers Memorial Day. IndustriALL’s regional office will work closely with Malaysian affiliates to campaign for a safer working environment and the ratification of ILO Convention 155,”

said Ramon Certeza, IndustriALL South East Asia regional secretary.