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Ratification of International Labour Convention and the Reformation of Trade Union Recognition Process in Malaysia

Siti Suraya Abd Razak, and Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 29, Issue 1, March 2021


Keywords: Collective bargaining, ILO Convention No. 87, Industrial Relations Act 1967, recognition process, trade union

Published on: 26 March 2021

The decline in the density of trade unions and the decreasing number of collective agreements had resulted in a deplorable situation in Malaysia. It is difficult to resolve the problems because the trade unions’ recognition process is often complex and legislatively restrictive. Nonetheless, the ratification of the International Labour Convention and ILO Convention No.87 could be a stepping stone in the reformation of the recognition process’s legal framework. Therefore, the present paper analysed the role of the ILO convention in reforming the trade union recognition process in Malaysia. Additionally, a qualitative method was employed to examine the role of the convention and its mechanism in the reformation of trade union recognition. Next, pure legalistic analysis and semi-structured interviews were conducted with the industrial relations key player to obtain their perspectives on the effect of ratification on industrial relations. Based on the generated outcomes, there were mixed views on the ratification of the stated convention. Additionally, this paper analysed the impact of the ratification of the convention by the member states of the ILO and how these countries benefitted from the ratification. Finally, this paper concluded that despite the challenges, the ratification of the convention improved the trade union recognition process in Malaysia. Therefore, the Malaysian government should immediately ratify ILO Convention No.87.

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