TAPAH: The amendments to the Trade Unions Act 1959 are not intended to suppress the Trade Union, but rather to increase the number of trade unions in the country, says Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

At the same time, he said it would open up more opportunities for workers to join any union of their choice for their benefit.

“Just look at the membership of the existing trade unions. Even though there are 15 million workers, not even 10% of them are members (of these unions).

“Maybe there were some betrayals and other cases, that’s why we want to increase the number of unions that employees can join,” Bernama reported the minister as saying to reporters after attending a Deepavali open house and presenting Deepavali goodies for persons with disabilities and single mothers here yesterday.

Saravanan, who is also the MIC deputy president, said the Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill 2022 was unanimously passed before the Parliament was dissolved last month.

In a statement, the Coalition Against Multiplicity of Unions chairman Rudy Rusly claimed the amendment to the Act showed that Saravanan and his deputy Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique had betrayed the trust of 15 million workers to the extent of weakening the trade unions.

On Oct 5, the Dewan Rakyat passed the Bill which aims to allow more than one union to be formed in a single workplace and to increase the membership of trade unions.

Saravanan, in his winding-up speech at the Dewan Rakyat, said the diversity of trade unions was expected to have a positive impact besides giving workers the freedom of choice.