OVER 140,000 WORKERS OBSERVED HARTAL
by Sunday Tribune Reporter
Over 140,000 workers throughout Malaya took part in the pan-Malayan hartal last week, and it showed the co-operation of labour in matters of importance, said Mr. Tse Tong, Chairman, speaking at the second anniversary of the Singapore Federation of Trade Unions yesterday.
Setting out the progress of the Federation in the past years, the speaker drew attention to the favourable conditions it had to pass through.
Despite Government’s ruling that government servants were not to join unions (he said) the Federation was enjoyable the support of those who had to leave the Federation on that account.
Mr. P.J. Steel, Registrar of Trade Unions, said that “Government servants are servants of the public and therefore they cannot join any individual union.”
Capital and labour (he said) were not opposing each other; both should work in close harmony and co-operate for mutual benefit.
Mr. Mitra, speaking on behalf of the Indian Regional Congress, said labour should not actively dabble in politics. He thought it should not do so until it reached a certain standard of efficiency.
To this extent, it should be labour’s aim to seek means to promote basic education, as “democracy is impossible unless you have a certain standard of efficiency.”
A representative of the Pan-Malayan Federation of Trade Unions, Mr. Ganapathy, expressing dissatisfaction over the Wages Commission’s Report, suggested that it would be advisable to request for Parliamentary Mission to visit Malaya, study labour conditions, and make final reports on wages.
Another speaker, Mr. Eu Chooi Yip, Secretary of the Malayan Democratic Union, said:- “Workers must realize that in order to achieve their economic demands and to improve their living standards they should take an active interest in the politics of this country.”
By so doing (he added) they would not only be safeguarding their interests and what rights they now had, but also safeguard what rights they were going to gain in the future. Referring to the Labour Party in England, the speaker said that that party derived all its financial support from trade unions and Government should not forbid trade unions from setting apart finances for political purposes.
Trade unionism, both in Singapore and Malaya had made tremendous progress, and now embraced workers of all races, he added.
Representatives of various other organisations, and unions also spoke on the significance of the day, the gathering was treated to light refreshment.
Sumber: Akhbar Sunday Tribune, 26 Okt 1947