As a socialist party, PSM holds workers struggle for a fair and just deal at work as the core of our party program.
Malaysia (then Malaya) has a rich history of workers struggles and achievement since the 1930’s. During its peak, in the mid 1940’s, nearly 70% of the working class then, were unionized. Now, disappointingly only less than 7% of the workforce are in unions. The state having inherited their suppressive tactics from the colonial masters (British), have continued break workers uprising and destroy their unions.
This has led to the deplorable state of affairs of the current Malaysian working class. By the Malaysian working class we mean both locals and migrant labour.
We need to empower the workers and return back their rights to organize and unionize to improve their wages and working conditions. We need to:
- Review and amend all labour laws that were designed to suppress workers’ rights. To ensure they are compatible with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions;
- Encourage and promote the right of all workers to unionise;
- We need a basic living wage based on the wealth generated by the workers. Workers share of the wealth has to be recognized and remunerated accordingly. Legislate a progressive guaranteed living wage for all workers;
- Give workers’ rights to association, full employment, retrenchment and pension fund;
- We need to abolish the contact work system for permanent work. It’s a blatant abuse of the term contract for service. Permanent work has to have permanent workers, not workers who are employed via fixed term contracts;
- The Employment Act 1955 needs to also protect workers, in the new 21st century gig economy;
- Precariat, the new working class needs to have their rights protected by labour laws;
- Protect the rights of self-employed workers and introduce regulations to ensure freelancing workers in temporary jobs are not exploited;
- Promote self-governing workers’ cooperatives to produce goods that are useful for society and reform the regulations to spur the growth of cooperatives;
- Workers and their trade unions to be part of economic influence and decision-making of enterprises, especially control of their pension funds;
- Accord full rights as workers to all migrant workers: Importing of migrant workers to be handled through Government to Government basis and not privatized to crony companies operating on a commercial basis; migrant workers to have easy access to alternative work in the event their employer sacks them because of a labour dispute; ratify the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees;
- Asylum seekers and Refugees to be given work permits so that they can work legally and turn to labour authorities should any employer attempt to bully or exploit them.