Unions should be ‘bridges’ between workers and employers: Dr Mahathir

SHAH ALAM (Bernama) – Unions should act as “bridges” between workers and employers and no longer function as facilitators of pickets to push their demands, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Malaysian Prime Minister said unions must play this role because the expectations of workers or employers change from time to time and are becoming more complex.

“Today, unions can no longer just be champions of workers like before, organising pickets and other demonstrations to pressure employers.

“As the go-between between workers and companies, unions that are dynamic is very important,” he said at the opening of the 21st Congress of the Union of Pos Malaysia Uniformed Staff (UPUS) yesterday.

Also present was the union’s Vice President Ahmad Tarmizi Taib, who is also discharging the duties of the president, and the top management of Pos Malaysia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is greeted on arrival at the 21st Congress of the Union of Pos Malaysia Uniformed Staff (UPUS) yesterday. – BERNAMA

Dr Mahathir said unions should practise moderation, be proactive and show tolerance in all matters, thus becoming good “bridges” between workers and employers.

He said fast-changing technology, automation and robotics, if not embraced quickly will result in workers being left behind and not becoming relevant.

“Unions should have the capacity to understand the changes that are happening and play their role to ensure workers are not left behind because of fast-paced changes,” he said.

At the event attended by 147 UPUS delegates, Dr Mahathir also praised Pos Malaysia for taking on challenges in a fast-changing world and emerging as an e-commerce pioneer in Malaysia.

“The challenge now is embracing diversification in the business and service sectors, and Pos Malaysia, I believe, will continue to innovate to remain relevant,” he said.

“The matter also demands the management and workers to change in the interest of all, what more with Pos Malaysia also playing a role in the development of the country,” he said.

In this regard, Dr Mahathir commended UPUS as a dominant union as well as for playing a role in shaping harmony in its relations with the company.

“In the context of Pos Malaysia, I understand UPUS was established in 1959 and is one of the oldest unions in Malaysia.

“With a membership of almost 7,000, it is a dominant union and plays a role in maintaining harmony in its relations with the company,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also called on the 147 delegates to examine and pore through issues relating to challenges faced by the postal industry besides coming out with ideas to improve the sector.