PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s largest labour federation has called for a government policy to require all companies to have a workers’ union.

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress said only about 500,000 to 800,000 of the 15 million people in the workforce are members of unions, Bernama reported.

“We hope that the government can introduce a policy so that every company has to create a workers’ union. When the company does not have a labour union, many workers’ rights are denied by the employer,” said MTUC secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor.

He urged the government to immediately ratify two conventions of the International Labour Organization which protect workers’ rights to the freedom of organisation and the right to organise themselves.

By ratifying the ILO conventions it would help ensure that workers received decent salaries, good jobs and benefits through negotiations and mutual agreements between workers’ unions and employers.

“MTUC wants to see our country achieve the status of a developed nation and it can only be achieved if the workers are given their due rights… MTUC calls on the government to recognise the conventions for the benefit of workers across the country,” he said in an interview on Bernama TV.

MTUC also hoped the government would implement the “living wage” model for salary increases, which could increase worker productivity and contribute towards higher national productivity.

He said a study by the statistics department had shown that national productivity had increased by 3.3% after the implementation of the minimum wage of RM1,500 in May 2022.