LETTER | It is with much regret that I note the diatribe in the media on the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) voting against the International Labour Organisation treaty to improve protection for workers facing violence and harassment.
The move has been subjected to unfair criticisms from many quarters.
I must say that some of the vilest criticisms happen to come from those with vested and political interests.
I am not going to single out any entity here as I do not wish to prolong this issue on which the public has been misled. We urge this to be stopped as we want to get on with the work of improving the lives of workers in the country.
I wish to once and for all clarify the whole issue, and urge all parties concerned to put to rest any doubts they have had on the MTUC’s stand on the overall protection of all workers irrespective of their race, religion or gender.
The leadership is very clear on its main role which is to improve all working conditions and environment for workers, and in the process bring the dignity back to the workers.
I will be honest, and with much humility and respect for the 15 million workers we represent, I wish to state that the MTUC’s vote on C190 in Geneva was due to certain misconceptions, which at this point, I am not at liberty to elaborate.
What is more significant is that C190 was overwhelmingly adopted by the ILO and that the MTUC will be pushing for the government to ratify it with full vigour and without any qualms.
It is heartening to note that the Minister of Human Resources M Kulasegaran has said that the convention’s recommendations can be supported by the government.
I would urge critics to take look at the depth of MTUC’s proposals for the review of the archaic labour laws in the country, as we have not left any stone unturned to ensure that the workers will get all the protection, be it sexual harassment, violence or gender bullying at the workplace.
What we have asked for in our proposals addresses most of the protection clauses in the C190, and we are confident that the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) which is a tripartite platform will ensure the workers will not lose out.
We are fighting very hard and promise to continue fighting hard for all workers irrespective of gender. Further, there are also many existing laws and the Penal Code to address violence and harassment at the workplace.
The MTUC had emphasised to the Malaysian Employers Federation and the Government at the NLAC meeting on Thursday that we will not compromise on the amendments if we find even the smallest and finest of print that could jeopardise the well-being of any worker in the country.
Malaysians can rest assured that MTUC will have the workers’ back at all times and we will stand up against anyone – be it the employers or the government – who exploit the workers and violate them.
Finally, the MTUC will in all honesty embark on a programme to educate the workers on their rights as espoused in C190 and at the same time push for the government to ratify it at our meetings with them and the employers.
We believe in the spirit of tripartitism as said by the human resources ministerand we will use this spirit to ensure the workers win and drive our beloved nation to much success.
I hope all Malaysians irrespective of their political leanings stand up and be with us on this arduous journey. The new government appears to be listening to our views and we hope this will translate into many positive reforms.
ABDUL HALIM MANSOR is the president of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.