KUALA LUMPUR: Trapped in a cycle of low wages and low education, the Malaysian workforce is poorly compensated compared with shareholders, making employers morally obligated to retrain and provide proper education for workers to upgrade themselves, a labour rights group has said.
Responding to a report by the Khazanah Research Institute, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) agreed with the report’s finding that despite significant growth in productivity, wages were not rising in tandem, due in part to the lack of bargaining power of low-skilled labour and over-reliance on cheap labour as a competitive advantage.
MTUC secretary-general N Gopal Krishnan said a worker who contributed to company productivity was entitled to a share of revenue just like anyone else in the organisation.
“It is a moral obligation for the employer then, to give proper education and training to his employees so that they can improve themselves,” he told The Malaysian Insider. “If an employer fails to do that, it is unfair because these companies are making revenue from them.”
In the last 10 years, Gopal said, productivity or the measure of revenue against expenses incurred increased by 6.7% but salaries had only increased by 2.1% in the same period.— The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 20, 2014.