Tuesday, 01 May 2012


The May Day celebration this year is a significant one. The rally today which was held 3 days after BERSIH 3.0 proved that a peacefully rally is possible if the police act professionally.  More than 3,000 workers participated in this May Day celebration.  The workers most in red t-shirts gathered at Central Market around 10 am then walked to Menara Maybank.  At the Menara Maybank, speeches by workers leaders, May Day Drama and drum performance were held.

Now, why this May Day is significant?  Firstly, on the eve of May Day, the Prime Minister announced the much awaited minimum wage of RM900. Minimum wage has been one of the key demands of workers groups and trade unions.  But today at the rally, the workers rejected RM900 – the quantum is not sufficient. It is not a decent living wage. Most workers are disappointed that the government has bowed down to the employers and the World Bank.  The government which promised reforms failed to listen to their own working class.


Secondly, the May Day this year saw the trade unions joining hands with the civil society groups in organizing of the rally. This is the 18th May Day Celebration organized by May 1st Organising Committee which comprised groups like JERIT, National Union of Bank Employee(NUBE), SUARAM, Women Aid Organisation, Sahabat Wanita, DEMA, KOMAS, PERMAS, SABM, PSM and PRM. This year, NUBE ,  Railway Union and  Drink Union joined forces and made the rally more colourful, vibrant and meaningful. The leadership of MTUC also participated in the civil society organized May Day where the President  gave a speech addressing the issues on contractual workers and union busting. We hope this solidarity and unity will grow stronger and form a powerful force to claim workers rights which has been taken away all this while by the employers and the government.

Thirdly, last year, the government amended the Employment Act 1955 in addition to all previous amendments in labour laws which further deprives the workers of their rights. Last year we saw so many groups including JERIT and MTUC oppose the amendments especially the provision of contractor for labour which eliminates the relationship between the employer and worker. Despite, all the protest, the government went ahead and made the change. Although the Minister of Human Resource in February 2012 said the amendment only applies to the plantation sector, there is no withdrawal of the amendment till now. So, in today’s rally the workers send another strong message to the government not to step on their heads. They will rise.

Fourthly, the May Day rally was held when the general election is just around the corner. The theme of this year’s May Day is ‘WORKERS ARE A FORCE OF CHANGE: PRIORITISE WORKERS' RIGHTS’. Lately, we could feel the mood of the Malaysians – we all want change. The 250,000 strong mass who came down for Bersih Rally 3 days ago in KL alone is a proof of people’s desire for change. Today the workers also reiterated their demands and  warned the government – that WORKERS are force of change. If the government continues to ignore the plight of workers, further deprive their rights, and continue to form alliance with the employers and investors, the working class is not going to tolerate it and they don’t need to wait long to make the change as GE -13 is just around the corner.

Enough of 50 years of slavery! Stop violating worker’s rights! Workers are a FORCE of CHANGE! Prioritize the Rights of Workers. 


Happy Labour Day !


JERIT Secretariat

1 May 2012




Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 May 2012 )
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