Enhance industrial relations, unions and employers told

JOHOR BAHARU: Trade unions and employers should continue to strengthen good industrial relations in an effort to reduce disputes, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said cooperation between trade unions and employers could be stepped-up without the need for any intervention or pressure from the government by focusing on enhancing understanding between them.

“A conducive work environment will certainly contribute to positive economic performance and boost efforts to achieve the status of a high-income and developed country,” he said when addressing trade unions at Persada Johor here yesterday.

Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman were present.

Muhyiddin said a conducive work environment could be created through strong cooperation and understanding between trade unions and employers on employee welfare, and company’s management and performance.

Muhyiddin described the reduction of industrial disputes by 28 per cent from 436 in 2000 to 311 cases last year as a positive development that had benefited all quarters.

“The Barisan Nasional government has an excellent record in supporting and cooperating with trade unions, particularly in improving the welfare and well-being of workers,” he said.

He said between 2000 and 2011, the number of trade unions in the country rose by nearly 25 per cent to 697.

With a total membership of 800,171 workers, he said trade unions could continue to carry out programmes to upgrade workers’ competency, innovation and skills.

He reiterated that three million jobs would be created by 2020 through the implementation of the Economic Transformation Programme worth over RM1 trillion.

Muhyiddin said the government was embarking on programmes and strategies to increase skilled workers to 33 per cent by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2020 to cater to the needs of the job market.

“In this regard, I urge trade unions to play a more active role to enhance the employability of their members by supporting government efforts in terms of competency development encompassing knowledge, skills and specialisation,” he said.

Earlier, in his speech, Subramaniam said urged trade unions to bring up their demands to employers through negotiations, and not to resort to strikes or protests as they would cause economic instability.

At the function, Muhyiddin presented a RM100 million cheque replica to the Skills Loan Fund Corporation and wheelchairs from the Social Security Organisation (Socso) to invalid workers. — Bernama

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