KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — The Malaysia Trade Union Congress (MTUC) today said the government must do all it can to protect the livelihood of employees, as most of them are from the B40 low-income group that have been struggling to sustain themselves and their families amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
MTUC president J. Solomon said the recent report by Chief Statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin that despite the 4.4 per cent salary increase in 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected this year’s wages of workers is a cause for concern as it implies that the various programmes introduced by the government failed to achieve the desired economic recovery.
“The government must introduce an Emergency Employment Regulation which will bar employers from retrenching workers until the country’s economy recovers from the Covid-19 fallout. This will help ensure job security for workers.
“The Ministry of Human Resources must also convene an urgent meeting of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) to address the serious concerns of workers,” he said in a statement today.
Solomon said Uzir’s report had specifically highlighted that workers in wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles, and transportation and storage sectors, accommodation industry, food and beverage services, and the arts, entertainment and recreational sectors are also particularly affected.
He said that employers should value their workers who had sacrificed for lower pay during a time of crisis.
“If employers are sincere, they will not sacrifice workers' interests during this crisis, and help the government keep the workers employed.
“Workers continue to face the possibility of being at high risk of job and income losses. The implications of reduced wages on the lives and livelihood of workers and their families, many of whom are in the B40 category, need the serious attention of the government.
“Even as we write this, the billion-ringgit Star Media Group has announced that it would retrench 300 employees over the last quarter of this year,” he said referring to a reported announcement of retrenchment by the media giant.
Yesterday, Uzir said that the average monthly salary and wage received by employees in the country increased by 4.4 per cent from RM3,087 in 2018 to RM3,224 in 2019.
He said the data was obtained from the 2019 Salaries and Wages Survey Report published by the Statistics Department.
Uzir said it was expected that the Covid-19 pandemic would affect this year’s salaries and wages received by employees.
e pointed out that the accommodation industry, food and beverage services, and the arts, entertainment and recreational sectors are also expected to be affected by the enforcement of the movement control order.
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