The NUECMRP was registered under the Trade Union Ordinance 1959, the said ordinance being the precursor to the present day Trade Union Act 1959, on 27.6.1962. The initiative to establish the union was by a group of workers amongst whom were workers from Wilkinson Rubber situated at 6 ½ mile, Jalan Ipoh, Batu Caves, Selangor. Wilkinson was later called Linatex Rubber Products Sdn.Bhd. Weir Group plc acquired Linatex Rubber Products Sdn.Bhd. sometime in 2010 and the company is, now, known as Linatex Rubber Products Sdn.Bhd. (Weir Minerals Malaysia).
One of the earliest Collective Agreement to be signed was the 1st Collective Agreement with Wilkinson Rubber In 1971. The signing of the said agreement was witnessed by the then Labour Minister Tan Sri Manickavasagam.
Whilst the union has expanded to, now, represent workers in 17 companies spread across the northern and central regions of the country it had to, constantly, face anti-union discrimination. And, the single challenge has been gaining trade union recognition from employers. In the case of Euromedical (later known as Unomedical Sdn.Bhd.) the struggle for trade union recognition took about 29 years !
The said company took a challenge to the competency of the union to represent the workers in their employment. Even after the union had amended it’s constitution to accommodate the said company’s products, the company took legal action against the Minister of Human Resources decision to accord trade union recognition to the NUECMRP. The Union was dragged from the High Court right through to the Highest Court, the Federal Court where it was decided in the Union’s favour. Thereafter, the company and the union successfully concluded two (2) Collective Agreements spanning a period of six (6) years.
Whilst negotiating the 3rd Collective Agreement the company announced a complete ceasation of it’s operation. That was in August 2016. Though that be the case, the Union managed to negotiation a comprehensive severance compensation package for the workers.
On the issue of competency alone the union’s effort to organise a few other companies with a combined workforce of about 4,000 thousand workers proved unsuccessful. Facing legal actions, in such cases, also resulted in huge financial legal expenses to the Union.
One big accomplishment is the fact that NUECMRP bought a building to base it’s head office in Penang. Owning it’s own building reduces the costs of operating the union and makes it possible to use the money to do other things, such as organizing and hosting more trainings.
NUECMRP has been helping its members to resolve various complaints at workplaces, including cases of unfair treatment and sexual harassment. The union also represents worker while there is a trade dispute.
The union provides trainings to members from time to time. In 2018, trainings, including trainings on union building, organising and collective bargaining were conducted. The Union will continue to organise such trainings in the future.
Challenges and Milestones
Union busting remains a key challenge in organising work. In the past few years, NUECMRP attempted to organise workers at Toyo Tires. It won majority support in the secret ballot exercise and accorded recognition by Minister of Human Resources in 2014. Unfortunately, the Japanese company filed judicial reviews in civil courts disputing the Minister’s recognition order.
Consequently, the Federal Court overturned the result and instructed a new secret ballot to be held. The legal battles burdened the union financially. This is one obvious example of union-busting and incessant challenges facing NUECMRP.
For the union, substitution of local workers with migrant workers in rubber-related industries is a worrying trend that causes declining union membership. Organising migrant workers is challenging because employers often threaten them that they will be terminated and repatriated if they voted for union though it violates Trade Union Act and Industrial Relations Act.
Another challenge is that the legal system has become an obstacle for the union to fight for better collective agreement. When NUECMRP bargains for good terms in collective agreements, companies will not hesitate to take the cases to industrial court and high court, where they were forced to settle the deals with less favourable terms.
Lastly, restrictive labour laws make Malaysian trade unions difficult to organise workers. Industrial Relations Department fails to take stern action against employers when they blatantly violate Industrial Relations Act. The laws limit unions’ right to strike and gives the Director-Generals enormous power to intervene in the industrial relations and trade disputes.
The NUECMRP has established 3 branches, namely, the North Malaysia Branch covering the states of Penang, Kedah and Perlis ; the Perak Branch and the Selangor/Federal Territories Branch. It’s head-quarters is situated in Penang.
There are currently 3680 members, but it had at one point in time about 6000 members. Of the total membership, about 70 % are women and 30 % men.
Nationally, NUECMRP is affiliated with Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC). Globally, NUECMRP is affiliated with IndustriALL Global Union.
Headquarter and Northern branch
Address : No.5096, Tingkat Bawah, Jalan Telaga Air, 12200 Butterworth, Pulau Pinang.
Tel No : 04-323 5018 / 04-3237482
Fax : 04 3245744
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Website : http://tradeunion.org.my/nuecmrp/
Selangor / KL Branch
Address : No. 30B, 2nd Floor, Jalan Kota Raja E/27/E, Seksyen 27, 40000 Shah Alam,
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel No : 03-51927840
Fax No : 03-51927837
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/nuecmrp.selangor
Address : No. 7A, Jalan Jelapang, Taman Silibin 30100, Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan.
Tel No : 05-5278745
Fax No : 05-5272041
E-Mail : Latexmrp@tm.net.my