January 2008 the union started the desk for the Migrant Workers’ Service
Centre, initiated and funded by the IUF Asia Pacific Region.
The operation of the Centre is covered with the term of reference -
to expand activities to protect migrant workers particularly in the
plantation, provide assistance, claim their rights and organize them.
union has set up a Committee, comprising the IUF affiliates and the unions
serving the plantations. Its role is to manage, assist, organize and plan
the needful activities for the migrant workers. The Committee is assisted
by a full time worker.
its inception the union with close cooperation of the National Union of
Plantation Workers (NUPW), a workers’ union in the plantation, we have
recruited more than 5000 migrant workers into that NUPW membership.
EXTANT OF MIGRANT WORKERS
are about two million migrant workers in
number of violations reported, as well as the high number of undocumented
migrant workers in
POLICY TOWARDS MIGRANT WORKERS
government has termed the migrant workers as foreign workers.
Government has an ad hoc policy on management of migration. Frequent
policy changes by the state lead to lack of clarity, abuse by different
stakeholders and increase the vulnerability of migrant workers.
Authority of Migrant Workers
Task force on Employment of Foreign workers, under the Ministry of Home
Affairs, is the approving authority for the employment of foreign workers
belonging to the skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled categories.
annual levy on foreign workers is imposed. The rates of levy on various
categories of workers are based according to the sectors.
government issued around 270 licenses for what it calls outsourcing
companies. These outsourcers do not operate in any particular sector, but
they are not employed by the company they work.
problem here is what union to join, as Malaysian unions are organized
along sect oral lines.
also means that the collective agreement signed with the company does not
apply to these migrants, even though they work in the company.
agencies that send migrants are very active; they send as many as they can
because they obtain large sums of money from these workers.
of Migrant Workers
migrant labour tends to undermine pay and working conditions, as well as
exacerbating the exploitation of migrants.
number of reports are documented of labour and human rights violations
against migrant workers during the recruitment process and their
government had set up a Task Force on Foreign workers in 2009 to find out
the requirements and to reduce gradually the dependency of foreign
government recently announced of a new Act for foreign workers signals a
commitment to address the plight of these workers.
of Illegal Workers
who entered illegally found no employment had caused problems when they
turn to negative activities, including crime.
said their large number also caused difficulty for industries that needed
foreign workers but could not find sufficient number of required workers.
Compensation Act 1952
section 26(2) of the Amended Act, it is mandatory for every employer to
insure all the foreign workers employed by him under an approved insurance
scheme in respect of any liability he may incur under the Workemen’s
Compensation Act 1952.
employer who fails to insure the foreign workers under the approved
insurance scheme shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on
conviction, to a fine not exceeding RM20, 000 or to imprisonment for a
term not exceeding 2 years or both.
POLICY ON MIGRANT WORKERS
Ministries need to develop a comprehensive policy framework for migrant
labour force including a new act of which the government has promised to
right of migrant workers to join a trade union is guaranteed under the
Trade Union Act of 1959, However, administrative practices and
unscrupulous employers often discourage migrant workers from joining trade
policy is that even if a migrant worker has signed an individual contract,
wherever there is a union and a collective agreement, the latter applies
to everyone, including migrants workers.