Top leaders of the MTUC met with members of the National Senate Council yesterday in an effort to persuade members of the Dewan Negara to vote against the Labour Laws Reform Bill, which it claims will kill trade unionism in the country.
They submitted a detailed report on some of the proposed changes and called for the bill to be resubmitted to the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) for a review before being tabled again at the next sitting of Parliament.
The MTUC delegation, led by president Abdul Halim Mansor and secretary-general J Solomon, met with the senators led by Senate Council president Khairuddin Samad.
Halim said that proposed changes to the reform bill were made without consulting its stakeholders.
“The changes were made without the MTUC and MEF being consulted and thus violated the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 144, which has been ratified by Malaysia," he claimed, according to a statement released by the MTUC.
"We urge members of the Senate to send the bill back for consultation with the NLAC to remove the bad laws. We are for the labour laws reform, but not in this manner which, if endorsed, will appear as state-sponsored union-busting,” Halim said.
He cited an amendment that would allow for a multiplicity of unions for the same category at the same workplace, saying that this would weaken the power of negotiation of the unions, resulting in industrial disharmony and impacting on productivity.
MTUC quoted Khairuddin saying they agreed to meet the MTUC on the premise that there were indeed certain provisions that may prove detrimental to the industrial harmony currently enjoyed by workers.
He reportedly promised that he will urge the senators to raise the objections and arguments from the MTUC when the bill is tabled in the Senate, which is expected to take place next week.
However, Khairuddin said, MTUC might find it hard to achieve its aim.
"Pakatan Harapan senators are known to criticise the government openly at the sittings but they toe the line when it comes to voting.
"So I wish to urge the Harapan senators to consider the valid arguments of the MTUC and vote according to their conscience and for the well-being of Malaysia," Khairuddin was quoted as saying.