National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW)

Union History

In the late 1960s, Malaysian automobile workers often work under poor working conditions with excessive working hours and tremendous pressure, some workers were even unfairly terminated by employers.

As a result of the exploitation of workers, a group of workers including Basri bin Hj. Ahmad, Mun Chee Wah and Micheal Samy started to organise workers. At first, the intention was to join the already established metal union but the registrar of trade unions under the Ministry of Labour said that the automotive sector cannot be represented by the metal union.

Finally, workers from the automotive sector formed Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Employees Union (TEAIEU) on 30 July 1971. They recruited members from car knock-down companies and accessory and bicycle assembly plants.

The first task after being registered as a union was to create and negotiate a collective agreement. The first negotiation started in 1971 and was concluded in 1973.

By that time the government came up with a policy where a certain percentage of the component parts must be local, so the production started with tires, doormats, leather strips. This made the union expand to represent this part manufactures as well.

With the growth of the industry, more and more companies started to manufacture parts of the entire automotive industry, and with more workers, there was also an increase in the union’s membership. At most there were around 11 000 members in 1987. TEAIEU successfully negotiated collective agreements with 7 companies.

In the beginning, there was an industry-wide collective agreement between TEAIEU and the union of employers, but over time the union of employers disintegrated with the reason that small players could not pay for higher benefits. Since then NUTEAIW began to have individual negotiation with each company.

Struggles and Milestones

In the economic crisis of 1987, some companies closed their operations, some merged with others, this made the membership go down to 4000. The union also experienced two big companies that decided to leave the union and instead created a company union.

Malaysia started its first national car in the 1980s, around that time the then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that we must have a rookie policy. The result of the policy was the growth of enterprise union.

Besides this, there was also a major incident where the government used the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) to arrest the former general secretary Arokia Dass of the union. He was allegedly involved in communist activities and detained without trial for 20 months, in fact, he was made scapegoat by the intense ethnic tensions and infighting within the ruling party.

In 1989, TEAIEU had been renamed as NUTEAIW (National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industry Workers) to avoid confusion with the name of another trade union, Transport Workers Union (TWU).

In 1990 N. Gopal Kishnam became the general secretary of NUTEAIW. At the time there were 49 companies under this union and had collective bargaining agreements with 48 of them.


Every three years, NUTEAIW represents workers to bargain for better benefits for workers. One of the achievements is successfully reduced 48 hours of work per week to 40 hours in some companies. Today, all of NUTEAIW’s collective agreements are 44 hours or less. Majority of the collective agreements have provision for a bonus.

In addition to that, NUTEAIW is also on its own negotiating insurance scheme. For members, the group scheme premium is very low and it is provided for all members.

NUTEAIW negotiated with employers to extend medical benefits to workers’ family members. All collective agreements have a provision of paternity and maternity leave. Some companies give 98-day maternity leave which is in compliance with the ILO convention 183. More than 10 companies give 90-day maternity leave and paternity leave is around 3-5 days.

Current Challenges

Wages are what is most urgent for union members. The last 30 years the cost of living has gone very high, the wages do not supplement that. Gopal argues that despite the gross domestic product looking very good, the disparities are very wide. On top is a very small group enjoy the whole thing, the majority is suffering, the distribution is not fair.

In order to bargain for higher wages, Malaysian workers need stronger unions with bigger membership, as well as industry-wide collective bargaining with a single union of employer. Industry-wide bargaining will allow NUTEAIW concentrates its time on organising more workers.

General secretary N. Gopal Kishnam

Moreover, the government does not have any provision to protect the workers that suffer from the unfair distribution of wages, the increasingly legalistic Industrial Court is partly responsible for purposely wanting to keep wages low and reduce unions’ bargaining power.

20 years ago, employers were not keen to go to court, but it is now the opposite because employers realize that the Industrial Court is favourable to the employer. Even though the Industrial Court has made a ruling in favour of the union but the company can challenge the decision by referring the case to the high court. Malaysian unions are struggling to cope with the legal challenges posed by employers.

Another challenge is that influx of migrant workers in transport equipment industry severely affect unionization rate. Most of the migrant workers are in favour of working overtime to send more money to their home countries, so they are not so keen to join the union and bargain for better employment benefits.

Indeed, the employers are cheating the migrant workers, they are not paying them overtime and there have been cases where they work 12 hours a day. These migrant workers are exposed to all kind of wrongdoing. In spite of the challenge, NUTEAIW managed to organise factories with majority of workers are migrants, we treat our members equally and consistently fight for their rights and benefits.

Another challenge is how to reach out to young people and unionise them. The younger generation is not keen to join a union because lack of information on the role of trade union.

Organisation Structure

NUTEAIW has a national council with 17 members, 2 of them are women. NUTEAIW has 4 full-time staffs base in Shah Alam, Selangor. 

Name Position
Mohd Yusof bin Hamidi President
Nazri bin Alias Vice President
N. Gopal Kishnam a/l Nadesan General Secretary
Mohamad Fauzi bin Ibrahim Assistant General Secretary
Mohamad Shahrul Nizam bin Hazmi Treasurer
Salmi binti Abdullah Exco
Azhari bin Abd Wahab Exco
Shoib bin Jaafar Exco
Kamar Arifin bin Mohd Nor Exco
Mohadi bin Ismail Exco
Mohd Rashidi bin Abdullah Exco
Haikhidil bin Jamaludin Exco
Amir bin Jamaludin Exco
Shariful Azhar bin Hassan Exco
Selvi d/o Pallaniandy Exco
Rajendran s/o Sinnakalan Exco
Sanmugam s/o Supaiya Exco
Badrulzaman bin Mohd Ghazali Industrial Relation Officer
Siti Khalijah binti Awi Clerk
Shamla d/o Moorthy Clerk
Name Position
Mohamad Fauzi Bin Ibrahim President
Nazri Bin Alias Vice President
N. Gopal Kishnam a/l Nadesan General Secretary
Mohd Yusof bin Hamidi Assistant General Secretary
Mohamad Shahrul Nizam bin Hazmi Treasurer
Kamar Ariffin bin Mohd Nor Exco
Arageson a/l Yagamparam Exco
Selvi a/p Pallaniandy Exco
Shariful Azhar bin Hassan Exco
Amir bin Jamaludin Exco
Sanmugam a/l supaiya Exco
Mohd Rashidi bin Abdullah Exco
Muhamad Arshad bin Mohd Rasidi Exco
Silmi bin Arshad Exco
Norsuhaini bt Sulaiman Exco
Annapoorani a/p Vasoo Exco
Wan Mazlina bt Rosli Exco
Siti Khalijah binti Awi Senior General Clerk 
Regina a/p Ratnakaran General Clerk

Contact Us

Do you work in transport equipment sector? Or your company supplies accessories to this sector? If yes, you can be a NUTEAIW member, please contact us immediately!

You are also welcome to meet our officials to discuss your workplace problems. Please do not hesitate to call or write us, we will do our best to help you.

Address       : No. 30A, Jalan Utas A, Seksyen 15, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor

                       Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Tel                : (+60) 3 5519 2421  

Fax              : (+60) 3 5510 6863

Mobile           : (+60) 19 3174717 (Gopal)

E-mail           :

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