Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Minimun Wage - Resolution of PMFTU when Ganapathy was Elected as President

In a recent public forum on Remembering S.A Ganapathy and Veerasenan , one of the participants asked me whether I am able to provide him details on when S.A Ganapathy was elected as PMFTU's president and on the committee members of the union. Even though I had some information on that but reluctant to share them without proper supportive evidences.

Since there has been many contradicting information floating on Ganapathy such as his age, his activities in union and etc., I think it is in my best interest to present these information (or even allegations) with evidences.

Therefore, it was reported in Singapore Free Press dated 8th February 1947 on Conference of PMFTU held in Kuala Lumpur. Ganapathy was elected to be the President of PMFTU on 7th February 1947.

Followings are detail of the Central Executive Bureau of the Federation

President: S. A Ganapathy
Vice President: Lam Swee and Abdullah C.D
General Secretary: Cheng Lu
Asst. General Secretary : B.Ahmad and Krishna Murthy
Treasurer : Yap Meow Siew
Members: R. Ramasamy, Chen Chong and P.Veerasenan.
Substitutes: Sze Tong, Fuang Soon Lai and Bahar.

There were 22 resolutions taken and one of them was on basic salary (which we are still battling until today). Interesting to note that it was stated as basic salary and not as minimum salary!

Other resolutions were:

To overcome communal or racial differences and inclinations; to work for working class as main abject to promote the unification of trade union organisations - This is very much against of British divide and rule policy

To see to it that organisations of various trades and industries are well established;
- Well established workers unions mean more demands for workers in terms of wage and benefits

To encourage trade union organizations to organize on a Pan-Malayan single industry on trade basis;
- If there would be a trouble in one of the estates in Kedah, all the estates in Malaya (from Kedah to Johor) shall observe strike. This was probably to press the Planter Association, estate owners and government to come to settlement as soon as possible.

To assist other races to organise their trade union organizations, and to hold joint meeting to exchange opinions and experiences.
- Sharing experience between races viewed important by PMFTU as Chinese were considered to be more experienced in union activities. Chinese migrants were first to start trade union among labourers in Malaya.

Officers of federation should carry out their duties to take part in any settlement of dispute;

To extend for another two months period for the collection of Vanguard Press Funds; the organ paper will be first printed in Chinese and Malay if the fund allows; the Tamil papers will be taken over when possible;

To remain a member in the Pan-Malayan Council of Joint Action and give all necessary supports to it; - PMFTU was not just an entity that fight for the rights of the workers but also there was an inspiration for independence of Malaya. This resolution proofs wrong of claim by Deputy External Minister of India that "Bandits do not have Political Aim". They were aspiration to liberate this country from the British.

To send a cable in the name of this reference to Republican Government of Annam to support the independence movement and to express sympathy - Very important resolution that shows PMFTU supportive of independence struggle of Vietnam.

Paper cutting as follows:

 
 


February 8th, 1947
Singapore Free Press
LABOUR WANT 44-hr WEEK

Free Press Staff Reporter

Among the 22 resolution adopted at the annual conference of the Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions at Kuala Lumpur is one which calls for a 44-hour week in Malaya. The conference also decides to ask the Government to publish the Labour Code in various vernacular languages.

The Central Executive Bureau of the Federation is getting down to the task of organizing a sub-committee to work our scale of basic wages. Forty-seven Central managing Council members and 13 substitutes were elected at the Conference. The General Secretary is Mr. Cheng Lu, and Messrs. B. Ahmad, Krishna Murthy are his assistants.

The Elected Central Executive Bureau members are: General Secretary Mr. Cheng Lu, Asst. General Secretary Mr. B. Ahmad, Asst. General Secretary Mr. Krishna Murthy, Chairman Mr. S.A Ganapathy, Vice-Chairman Mr.Lan Swee and Mr.Abdullah C.D Treasurer Mr.Yap Meow Siew, Members Messrs. R. Ramasamy, Chen Chong and P.Veerasenan. Substitutes: Messr. Sze Tong, Fuang Soon Lai and Bahar.

The other resolutions adopted by the conference are:

To overcome communal or racial differences and inclinations; to work for working class as main abject to promote the unification of trade union organisations

To see to it that organisations of various trades and industries are well established;

To encourage trade union organizations to organize on a Pan-Malayan single industry on trade basis;

To assist other races to organise their trade union organizations, and to hold joint meeting to exchange opinions and experiences.

Officers of federation should carry out their duties to take part in any settlement of dispute;

To extend for another two months period for the collection of Vanguard Press Funds; the organ paper will be first printed in Chinese and Malay if the fund allows; the Tamil papers will be taken over when possible;

To remain a member in the Pan-Malayan Council of Joint Action and give all necessary supports to it;

To send a cable in the name of this reference to Republican Government of Annam to support the independence movement and to express sympathy;

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