The government is urged to provide data on errant contractors to enable payment of minimum wage adjustments, including salary arrears, to be made directly to affected workers.
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor said the salary arrears for each government service contract worker, such as cleaners and security guards, have reached RM3,600 since the new minimum wage rate of RM1,500 was implemented in May last year.
“Whatever the reason for the employer’s (contractor’s) failure to pay the minimum wage, either the delay from the government’s side to pay the adjustments or the contractor’s financial problems, the workers cannot be the victims of the government-enforced system.
“Failure to pay the minimum wage must be seen as a weakness of the contract system. The employer’s irresponsible attitude not only causes local workers to become victims of forced labour but also hampers the country’s economic growth and violates the minimum wage order,” he said in a statement.
He said MTUC also suggested that the contractor’s bond be withheld if they fail to pay the minimum wage adjustments to their workers.
“The government must take responsibility to ensure that employers pay the arrears. As such, the human resources ministry can use its power to ensure the rights of all government contract workers are protected,” he said.
Kamarul also suggested that the ministry call the stakeholders to prevent the minimum wage issue from becoming a burden and creating a negative perception towards the government.
“There needs to be a mechanism for the payment of minimum wage adjustments to guide workers and contractors every time a new minimum wage order is announced,” he said.