The Rise and Fall of Malaysian Labour Organisation - (MLO) A Case Study
Sinnasamy, Ponusamy (1997) The Rise and Fall of Malaysian Labour Organisation - (MLO) A Case Study. Masters project report, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The year 1990 marked a new era in the Malaysian Industrial Relations System. A new Labour Organisation (Malaysian Labour Organisation -MLO) was registered as a new Labour centre for Private and Public sector unions. It proved a watershed because it broke the monopoly of Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) as the sole representative body for private sector unions for more than 40 years. However, barely seven years after its formation, MLO was dissolved and majority of its affiliates merged with MTUC. This study traced the processes of the formation and dissolution of MLO. This study also identified the forces that influenced the formation of MLO and later its dissolution. The differences in policies and ideologies of the two labour centres have also been compared. This inquiry was conducted as a qualitative case study. A major portion of the inquiry examined events that have already taken place. The study used mainly recall data collected by means of semi-structured interviews. In addition to the above modes of obtaining information in this enquiry, I also did a content analysis of documents and reports of major daily newspapers. The findings of this study revealed that the formation of MLO was mainly due to the political conflicts within MTUC and the encouragement given by the government to the initiators of the new Labour centre. Interestingly, the government also played a significant role behind the dissolution and the ultimate remerger of MLO with MTUC. Besides that, the other factors that led to MLO's downfall are employers attitude, quality of services given to affiliates ofMLO, the prevailing economic climate at that time, constant bickering for National and International representations between the two labour centres, and international pressure on the government. It was found that the policies and ideologies practiced by the two labour centres were almost similar. However one notable difference that was evident was that MLO was apolitical. They maintained that Politics and Trade Unionism cannot mix. MTUC on the other hand maintained that Politics and Trade Unionism are intertwined and cannot be separated.
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