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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Give all workers equal treatment

I REFER to the letter “Labour woes can be resolved,” (The Star, March 25) and see no reason why temporary workers should be treated differently from permanent ones.

A worker is employed to perform a certain task and his duty is to fulfil his job description, whether he is employed for just a few months, a few years, or his whole working life.

If any special treatment should be given, temporary workers should be treated better than long-term employees because they will loose their jobs sooner and have only a limited period of time to earn a salary and save some money for their future.

In the present economic environment, it is also unrealistic to want to get rid of foreign workers.

An employer should always be free to employ the staff he chooses and any country that trades overseas should not forbid foreigners from working in their country, be they professionals or labourers.

Work is sacred and all jobs are needed.

No one occupation is superior to another except by the degree of proficiency with which the worker fulfils his duties.

I think governments would be able to resolve workers’ problems if they treated all workers alike, and if they made the same labour laws applicable to all workers, regardless of whether they are locals or foreigners.

For example, a person who employs a local worker will require him to be qualified for the job (which includes having literacy and numeracy skills), experience and be physically and mentally healthy.

He must have his own accommodation and transport and enough money to support himself until he receives his first pay cheque.

He must also not have a criminal record.

An employee must also speak the language of his employer so that he can understand instructions clearly, so foreign workers who come to work in Malaysia should have a working knowledge of Bahasa Malaysia.

I am sure that if employers are made to follow the same rules for all workers, they will find that foreign workers are in fact more expensive than local ones and will not employ them unless absolutely necessary.

Educated people should shy away from thinking that foreigners are taking away their jobs.

This kind of thinking is highly impractical in our time and age. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so an economy can only grow and bear fruit when all jobs are taken up.

To refuse work to any eligible man or woman is to condemn the person to poverty and misery, and the country to remaining underdeveloped.



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