KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has called for a tripartite meeting of government, employers and employees' representatives to be held soon to address foreign workers' housing issues to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases.
MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said the meeting was important to finding a solution to the issues and reaching a consensus.
"This kind of dialogue is not taking place at the moment. Although employees and employers may not agree on something, there should still be an avenue for these representatives to sit down and engage, to form some sense of decision," he said.
He added that the government must be willing to intervene if there was no consensus and make a decision for the good of all parties.
"The government must convene a tripartite meeting at the National Labour Advisory Council and start looking for a solution to the issues because there have been a lot of workers' issues of late," he told Bernama yesterday.
The MTUC had earlier called on relevant authorities to investigate work places and foreign workers' dormitories nationwide after receiving reports of cramped living conditions which did not meet the standard housing accommodation permissible under the law.
A total of 187 new COVID-19 cases were recorded yesterday (May 26), with the majority involving foreigners, and authorities had identified cramped living conditions and poor hygiene as the the main causes of infection among foreign workers.
Solomon said employers needed to provide facilities in accordance with the law and to also consider humanitarian grounds when employing any worker.
"The law states that you have to give them (foreign workers) a minimum wage and provide a safe place for them to stay, which means cramming 17 to 30 people into one shop lot is unlawful," he said.
He added that employers were aware of the standard of living condition that workers deserved to be provided with as they've been advised by various agencies on the specifications.