Date: Friday 25-Apr-14


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Invest in Malaysia

Manpower for Industry

6. Industrial Relations

6.1 Trade Unions

The Department of Trade Union Affairs generally features guidelines for the formations, functions and activities of trade unions. Trade Union Affairs is governed by Trade Union Act 1959. Functions of the department are as follows:

  • To enforce the Trade Unions Act 1959 and Trade Union Regulations.
  • To supervise, direct and control generally all matters relating to unions.
  • To consider applications for registration established by either employees or employers.
  • To ensure that registered trade unions function in accordance with the trade union legislation and their respective rules and constitution.
  • To advise officers and members of trade unions on administrative, financial and constitutional aspects of trade unions.
  • To advise the Minister of Human Resources on matters relating to trade unions legislation and policies an particular and other labor issues in general.

6.2 Industrial Relations Act 1967

The Industrial Relations system in Malaysia operates within the legal framework of the Industrial Relations Act 1967. The Act is administered by the Department of Industrial Relations, Malaysia and it regulates the relations between employers and their workmen’ and their trade unions in the country. The Act, among others, outlines the following:

  1. Provisions outlining the process relating to claims for recognition and scope of representation of trade unions;
  2. Provisions relating to the facilitation of effective collective bargaining between the trade union and the employer and subsequent conclusion of a collective agreement;
  3. Provisions relating to prevention and settlement of trade disputes including referral to the Minister of Human Resources and Industrial Court for a dicision;
  4. Provisions relating to industrial action such as  pickets, strikes and lockouts;
  5. Provisions relating to the representations for claims for reinstatement by workmen;
  6. Provisions relating to the operation of the Industrial Court; and
  7. Provisions relating to the investigative powers of the officers of the Department of Industrial Relations, Malaysia

In addition, the Department also provides advisory services on all issues and questions relating to employment relations vide its branch offices located throughout the country.

6.3 Relations in Non-Unionised Establishments

In a non-unionised establishment, the normal practice for settling disputes is for the employee to try to obtain redress from his supervisor, foreman or employer directly. An employee can also lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources which will then conduct an investigation.


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