Trade unions must be supporter, partner between employer, employee – Riot

26th November, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Human Resources Minister, Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Jaem reminded union leaders across the country to transform existing patterns of leadership to face challenging times ahead.

He said trade union nowadays should be seen as a supporter, partner and link between employer and employee. “The negative perception of trade unions often labelled as pressure groups must change. As a mediator between employers and workers, union leaders should have good communication skills so that the outcome can be channelled to members quickly and effectively,” Richard said in his speech at the Seminar on Trade Union Training on Leadership and Raconteur (TUTELAR) held here yesterday.

Based on the records of the Department of Trade Union Affairs, the total number of unions registered and active until the end of September 2013 is 702.

Total membership is 898,821 people consisting of 520,972 men and 377,849 women.

There are 143 unions from the government sector with a membership of 437,302 people and 100 unions from statutory bodies with a membership of 79,680.

In the private sector, there are 459 trade unions with 381,389 members.

A total of 598 trade unions or 85.2 per cent are internal while another 104 or 14.8 per cent are National unions.

In Sabah, until the end of September, there are 72 main trade unions with 53 as branches, bringing the total to 125 registered under the purview of the Department of Trade Union Affairs in the state.

Meanwhile, Richard said the extension of the minimum retirement age to 60 years under the Minimum Retirement Age Act 2012 for the private sector will benefit the approximately 7.8 million private sector workers in this country.

It came into effect last 1 July but employers who applied to extend the implementation of the Act have only until 31 December, 2013 to make the necessary preparations.

“This is a tripartite decision after taking into account the views of employers and employees,” said Richard, adding that some ASEAN countries and other developed countries such as South Korea, Japan, Australia and Germany have taken similar steps.

Meanwhile, when asked by reporters, Richard said the government is always looking at ways to help people with disabilities, including those with specific diseases such as thalassemia, so that they are not left out of the job market.

He said the government encouraged employers to hire them to work in any field according to their ability.

The Government also has a Return To Work programme to enable those previously incapacitated by an accident, whether at the workplace or elsewhere, to return to work.

“The RTW programme provides social security and rehabilitation for workers who suffered sudden disability so they can return to work, according to their ability, and start earning again,” he said.

The TUTELAR seminar was attended by over 200 trade union leaders representing 50 unions in Sabah.

Also present were the Secretary General of the Ministry of Human Resources, Datuk Seri Zainal Rahim Seman, Deputy Secretary General (Operations) of the Ministry, Dato’ Mohd Shariff Hussin, Chief Executive of Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Bhd, Badaruddin Ali Abd Kadir and Director-General of the Department of Trade Union Affairs, Mustafa Ali.

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Trade unions must be supporter, partner between employer, employee – Riot
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