Malasia - Union recognition is arbitrary and extremely slow (2010, 2011)

Obtaining a response from an employer to a request for union recognition should take a maximum of 21 days. However, in reality this takes much longer if a dispute occurs, because the matter must be taken to the Director General of Industrial Relations, the Director General of Trade Unions (DGTU) and then the Minister of Human Resources, who has the final say, unless that is challenged in the High Court. Some applications take as long as three to five years.

In a previous complaint to the ILO, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) listed cases in which the DGTU had arbitrarily denied organisational and collective bargaining rights to more than 8,000 workers in manufacturing companies. Longstanding complaints from the MTUC and its affiliates over the cumbersome process to obtain union recognition and collective bargaining have also remained unresolved despite changes to the Industrial Relations Act. The amendments stipulated specific measures to resolve the unions’ claim for recognition within a period of six months. Unfortunately, government authorities have claimed that they cannot enforce the amendments because of the absence of appropriate regulations.

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