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A dispute being referred to as trade dispute under the Industrial Relations Act 1967 means any disagreement between the employer and workman or employee which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or the conditions of work of such workman or employee leading to industrial action.

The Industrial Relations Act 1967 governs the relationship between employers and workmen or employees and their trade unions and generally deals with trade disputes.


The Industrial Relations Act 1967 is applicable throughout Malaysia and provides for the regulation of relations between employers and workmen or employee and their trade union and the prevention and settlement of trade disputes.

This Act emphasizes on direct negotiation between employers and workmen or employees and their trade unions to settle their differences and to regulate their collective relationship and to settle any dispute arising therefrom through their own effort and through mutually agreed procedures with minimal government intervention.

Where the government intervention is necessary, such intervention will be confined mainly to providing a legal framework to which the parties can turn to if they so wished.

Under the Industrial Relations Act 1967, the legitimate rights of employers and workmen or employees and their trade unions are protected.

This Act also provides the procedure relating to submissions of claims for recognition and scope and representation of trade union and collective bargaining.

Under this Act, matters relating to promotion, recruitment, dismissal, transfer, retrenchment, reinstatement and allocation of duties and prohibition of strikes and lockouts over any of these matters are not allowed to be included in the proposal for collective bargaining.

Where direct negotiation between employers, workmen or employees and their trade unions fails, this Act provides for speedy and just settlement of trade disputes by conciliation or arbitration

This Act provides the power to the Ministry of Human Resources to intervene and to refer at any stage any trade dispute to the Industrial Court for arbitration.

After a trade dispute has been referred to the Industrial Court and on any matter covered by a collective agreement or by an award of the Industrial Court, employees or workmen are not allowed to declare strike or lockout.

Collective agreement means an agreement in writing concluded between an employer or a trade union of employers on one hand and a trade union of workmen or employees on the other, relating to terms and conditions between the two such parties.

This Act makes it an offence for any person to give financial aid in direct furtherance or support of any illegal strike or lockout. Such offences are seizable in nature and no bail shall be granted.

Peaceful and orderly picketing in furtherance of a trade dispute is permitted under Part IX, section 20 of the Industrial Act 1967 provided that such picketing is carried out at or near the place where a workmen or employee works and where a trade disputes exists. It will be illegal however for one or more persons to attend at or near a place of employment where a workmen works if such attendance is, by nature of its manner or number, calculated to intimidate any person in the place or to obstruct the approach thereto or egress therefrom or to lead to a breach of the peace.

Award means an award made by the Industrial Court in respect of any trade dispute or matter referred to it or any decision or order made by it under the Industrial Relations Act 1967. An award of the tribunal is final and legally binding on the parties to the dispute.

Unless approved by the Ministry of Human Resources, collective agreement cannot contain better terms of employment than those stipulated under the Employment Act 1955.

Part IV, section 15 of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 provides the protection of pioneer industries during the initial years of their establishment for a period of at least 5 years from the date of commencement of operation in Malaysia against any unreasonable demands from a trade union.

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