Sarawak MTUC blasts union leaders for violating party resolutions 

Andrew Lo

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Nov 11: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak Division has criticised the action of certain individuals of its national body for disobeying the resolutions passed at the triennial delegates conference (TDC).

Its Sarawak division’s secretary Andrew Lo, in a recent statement, pointed out that its president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor and secretary general J Solomon have imposed personal views and rants on MTUC and the workers.

He believed that union leaders should focus on how to organise the 98 per cent of non-unionised workers rather than hanging on to a dysfunctional and self-defeating system.

“The views and actions of president Halim Mansor and secretary general J Solomon may not be the view of MTUC. We believe their views are not consistent with the resolutions adopted by the TDC.

“MTUC position has throughout our history consistently called for the ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 87,” he said.

Lo observed that both leaders were in Geneva, Switzerland, last June, where Abdul Halim was the only trade union leader in the world to vote against the ILO Convention Concerning Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.

At the same time, he added: “We are very disturbed at the attempts to usurp the will of Dewan Rakyat by trying to get the Dewan Negara to dismiss the bill.

“We note that Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) also took a similar stand. If they (Halim and Solomon) think that the bill is insufficient to address the concerns of workers, then the responsible thing would be to lobby the government to further improve the provisions instead of totally rejecting the bill.

Lo said such attempts will put at risks the various benefits to workers that are in the bill including opening access to employees in the Statutory bodies to the Industrial Court.

“We cannot comprehend their many contradictory and ever changing allegations. Initially, they accused that the government did not obtain consensus from the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) and is against ILO Convention 144 (C144) on tripartism.

“When confronted with the fact that C144 never require consensus, they then changed their tune to no consultations,” he continued.

Apart from that, Lo said Solomon and Abdul Halim’s demands that NLAC must have a consensus before any amendments to labour law are enacted, will mean that from now onwards, it will be extremely difficult to improve workers’ rights.

He noted the reason was the MEF has almost never given any consensus to any improvement in workers’ rights.

As such, he believed the MEF is very smart by also demanding to have consensus so they will be able to veto any proposal to improve workers’ rights.

Furthermore, he said MTUC Sarawak Division also noted that Solomon and Abdul Halim also did not consult meaningfully or obtain consensus or have ignored the general council, the divisions or affiliates unions on the important issue that affects all affiliates of MTUC.

Lo said they subsequently claimed there was no meaningful consultations needed.

As a member of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC), he claimed that substantive and detailed consultations on every amended clause had indeed taken place, even though Solomon and Halim may not be present at all times.

Unfortunately, the NLAC cannot come to a consensus even at the Technical Committee level, he added.

He noted that it will be an exercise in futility to get any consensus at the NLAC level as members of the Technical Committees are also members of the NLAC.

Therefore, he believed the government, being elected by the people, has to play its role to decide what is the best way forward. — DayakDaily