LLRC calls on the government to deepen labour law reforms

The Labour Law Reform Coalition held a consultation meeting to review the labour law reform 2019-2023 on 19 March 2023 at Armada Hotel, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

The participants call for further reform of the labour laws and adopted the following resolutions :

On freedom of association and industrial actions

  1. The Director-General of Trade Unions should not be given the power to cancel registration of a trade union. Any cancellation should be determined by the court, where a trade union can argue its case in an open court
  1. The strike procedure should be simplified by majority vote cast in the ballot box or majority vote by union delegates
  1. The section 26(2) of Trade Union Act 1959 denies workers with age below 18 to join a strike and other rights, this discriminative section must be removed
  1. The categories of executive, confidential and security capacity should be removed from the claim for recognition procedure in section 9(1) of Industrial Relations Act (slight amendment after some union leaders said they disagree to include managers in unions)
  1. The section 44 of Industrial Relations Act should be abolished to protect workers’ right to strike

On union recognition and collective bargaining

  1. A time limit of 90 days for a claim for recognition must be set. Employers must respond to DGIR’s request for namelist within 14 days. Where employers fail to comply, the DGIR should be mandated to accord recognition based on evidence provided by the union.
  1. Section 11 of the Industrial Relations Act should be amended to prevent employers from establishing puppet unions. When there is a challenge by another union, voluntary recognition granted without ascertaining the representative status, the DGIR ought to be authorised to carry out a balloting
  1. Secret ballot must be restarted within a month if the turn-out rate does not achieve 100%. The process shall be repeated until all employees casted their votes

On women, foreign spouses, migrant and domestic workers and refugees

  1. The first schedule of the Employment Act, which exempts domestic workers from various rights, must be amended to ensure domestic workers are treated as ordinary workers in the Employment Act
  1. The government should ratify ILO Convention 189 and to enact a Domestic Workers’ Act in the long-run. Migrant domestic workers should be allowed to hold union office considering their vulnerable positions
  1. The subsection 37(1)(aa) that gives employers leeway to call back female workers before the end of 98-day paid maternity leave should be abolished
  1. Foreign spouses of Malaysians should have the right to work. Refugees’ right to work should be protected
  1. Whenever a migrant worker lodges a complaint with the labour department and faces the risk of being deported, the Director-General of Labour should recommend the Immigration to issue a free special pass so that the worker can stay in Malaysia with right to work during the complaint period. Reform work permit system and allow migrant workers to change employers in the event of rights violations. The Employment Act should be amended.
  1. Foreign spouses of Malaysians should have the right to work. The government should facilitate refugees’ right to work.

On basic working conditions

  • The contractor for labour provision in Employment Act 1955 should be abolished, trade unions should stop outsourcing by including provisions in collective agreements
  • The requirement for employers to publish a code of conduction on sexual harassment at workplace should be inserted in the Employment Act, in complementary with the Anti-Sexual Harasment Act
  • Reduce the weekly hour of work to 40 hours. The meal break should be part of the working hours