Wednesday, June 15, 2011

100 protest against new wage panel bill

S Pathmawathy
Jun 15, 11

About 100 protesters representing various workers NGOs gathered outside the Parliament today to oppose the tabling of the National Wage Consultative Council Bill.

Workers rights group Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), together with 11 other non-governmental organisation, led the demonstration which lasted for 30 minutes.

The protesters rejected the setting-up of the consultative council, and instead demanded the enactment of a minimum wage bill, outlining the basic workers salary at RM1,500.

NONE"Don't use the National Wage Consultative Council Bill as an eyewash or as election sweeteners," said the group.

Armed with pro-workers banners and placards that read, "Until when will the labourers be tricked" and "Malaysia is rich but workers are poor".

Closely watched by some 50 armed police officers and those of the Light Strike Force (LSF), the protest went on undisturbed.

"Don't conspire with the employers to delay the implementation of the minimum wage act (and) use your political will to enact the act immediately," said PSM treasurer A Sivarajan, adding that it would lessen the income gap in the country.

He also lashed out at Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam for saying RM550 should be the minimum wage for a security guard who works for 12 hours.

"He (Subramaniam) said the 34 percent of the 1.3 million workers in the country earned less than RM700, which is below the poverty line of RM720," said Sivarajan.

No faith in new wage council

A memorandum was given to representatives from the office of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, on behalf of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and M Kulasegaran, who represented the Parliamentary Caucus for Labour and Migrant Workers.

NONEIt stated that the poverty line of RM720 in Malaysia is below global standards in which the benchmark is stated as RM1,698 to RM2,012.

It also cited the 2010 Millennium Development Goals report, which states the gap between the poor and rich is widening as 40 percent of the population only enjoys 14.3 percent of the country's earnings.

"The prime minister's salary is no less than RM22,826.65 a month and including allowances, it is almost RM30,000. Meanwhile, ministers earn RM15,000 a month. So don't try to debate that workers survive with a low income," it said.

Jerit coordinator M Sivaranjani said they have lost faith that the setting-up of another council would solve their problems.

NONE"The wage council has got neither the fangs nor the powers to coerce the employers to abide by their orders, nor to take any action against employers who are stubborn and refuse to pay accordingly," she said.

The new bill is to replace the Salary Determination Council Act 1947, and is expected to be tabled, debated and passed at this Parliament sitting.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) vice-chairperson Mohd Roszeli Majid also supported their demand, as the labour organisation is not confident about the government's will to fulfil the minimum wage demands.

"MTUC was involved in the lab which decided on the National Wage Consultative Council Bill but nothing seemed to come out from it," said Roszeli

Posted By Pemuda Sosialis to Parlimen Sungai Siput at 6/15/2011 02:46:00 AM

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