The Labour Law Reform Coalition urges automotive employer associations to stop using unjustified reasons to displace Malaysian workers with foreign workers in the sector.
Instead of giving a knee-jerk response, employer groups should take proactive action to address the root causes in order to retain local automotive workers.
On 3 April Proton Vendor Association president Wan Mohamed Wan Embong called on the government to allow the recruitment of foreign workers or a recalibration of undocumented foreign workers because of the labour shortage. He claimed local workers in the sector often leave automotive companies after six to 12 months.
It is common sense that if workers cannot stay on a job after six to 12 months, something is wrong with the companies. Just to name a few [possible reasons], this could be due to less attractive wage or remuneration packages, excessive and unpaid working hours, bad work culture, or an unsafe and unhealthy production process.
Therefore, please don’t use a ‘phenomenon’ to scapegoat workers; the problem may lie in the employers. Let’s be scientific in studying the labour shortage issue in the sector, and together find an amicable solution to address the concern of local workers.
The Labour Law Reform Coalition calls on the government and employer groups to establish tripartite sectoral councils in all industrial sectors including the automotive sector, so that trade unions and employer groups in sectors and the Ministry of Human Resources can hold regular social dialogue to discuss and address issues in these sectors.
The Philippine and Singaporean governments have formed many tripartite sectoral councils to promote industrial peace and improve working conditions in some sectors. It is a good practice that should be implemented as soon as possible to stimulate economic growth and productivity.
N Gopal Kishnam is chairperson of the Labour Law Reform Coalition