Framework To Protect Trade Unions And Employees Coming Up Ahead Of TPPA

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 – The ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC) will draw up a framework in March to protect trade unions and the welfare of employees. The proposed framework will be handed over to the government prior to the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

ASETUC General-Secretary Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal said the proposal would cover guidelines, that trade unions should adopt, and issues such as cross-border trade union membership, should the government sign the TPPA. He said it is important for us to discuss, get the right interpretation of the TPPA, especially if there’s a dispute among workers and employers.

He told this to the reporters on the sidelines of a workshop here Tuesday on “Workers Perspective On TPPA and Asean Economic Community 2015”. He said the high standard of English used in the TPPA document caused concern and ambiguities among workers and trade unions.

He also added that a framework needs to be established so that they can work within that framework and if there’s dispute, they can also refer to a third party or tribunal. TPPA is expected to cover about 40 per cent of the world’s economy and create a market of 800 million people with a combined Gross Development Product of US$27.5 trillion (US$1=RM4.29).

Asked on the country’s minimum wage, Mohamed Shafie said it should be increased to RM1,500 instead of the present RM1,000 due to the high cost of living. Given the fact that toll fares have increased, he said that the petrol prices have increased, he personally think that RM1,500 is more suitable with the current economic situation. He also added that the minimum wage in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia should be standardised.

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