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Guide To Trade Unions Act 1959

The Trade Unions Act regulates trade union registration and the uses of trade union funds.

What are the requirements for registration of a trade Union

Every trade union shall apply to be registered under this Trade Unions Act in order to function lawfully.


(a) It must be registered within one month from date of establishment;
(b) Application must be made in a prescribed form i.e. Form B

(c) Form B must be signed by at least 7 members;
(d) A fee of RM30.00
(e) A printed copy of the rules of the trade union;
(f) A copy of the minute of the inaugural meeting;
(g) A statement of the following particulars, namely-
(i) the names, occupations and addresses of the members making the application;
(ii) the name of the trade union and the address of its head office; and
(iii) the titles, names, ages, addresses and occupations of the officers of the trade union

Can the Director General of Trade Unions refuse to register a trade union

The Director General can refuse to register a trade union if-

(a) he is of the opinion that the trade union is likely to be used for unlawful purposes or for purposes contrary to or inconsistent with its objects and rules;
(b) any of the objects of the trade union is unlawful;
(c) he is not satisfied that the trade union has complied with this Act and of the regulations;
(d) he is satisfied that the objects, rules, and constitution of the trade union conflict with any of the provisions of this Act or of any regulations; or
(e) the name under which the trade union is to be registered is-(i) identical to that of any other existing trade union, or so nearly resembles the name of such other trade union as, in the opinion of the Director General, is likely to deceive the public or the members of either trade union; or
(ii) in the opinion of the Director General, undesirable, unless the trade union alters its name to one acceptable to the Director General.

Can the Director General of Trade unions cancel the registration of a trade Union

The Director General of Trade Union may cancel the registration of a trade union under the following circumstances:

(a) at the request of the trade union upon its dissolution to be verified in such manner as the Director General may require; or
(b) if he is satisfied-
(i) that the certificate of registration was obtained or issued by fraud or mistake;
(ii) that any one of the objects or rules of the trade union is unlawful;
(iii) that the constitution of the trade union or of its executive is unlawful;
(iv) that the union has been or is being or is likely to be used for any unlawful purpose or for any purpose contrary to its objects or rules;
(v) that the trade union has contravened any provision of this Act or of any regulations made thereunder, or of any of its rules, or allowed any rule to continue in force which is inconsistent with any such provision, or has rescinded any rule providing for any matter for which provision is required by section 38;
(vi) that the funds of the trade union are or have been expended in an unlawful manner or on an unlawful object or on an object not authorized by the rules of the union; or
(vii) that the trade union has ceased to exist.

Where two or more registered trade unions exist in a particular establishment, trade, occupation or industry, as the case may be, the Director General may, if he is satisfied that it is in the interest of the workmen in that establishment, trade, occupation or industry so to do-

(a) cancel the certificate of registration of the trade Elliot or trade unions other than the trade unions which has the largest number of workmen

What are the consequences of failure to register or of cancelation of registration

If any trade union does not apply for registration in due time, or if the registration of any trade union is refused, withdrawn or canceled, then-

(a) the trade union shall be deemed to be an unlawful association and shall cease to enjoy any of the rights, immunities, or privileges of a registered trade union, but without prejudice to any liabilities incurred or to be incurred by the trade union which may be enforced against the union and its assets;
(b) the trade union shall not, nor shall any of its officers, members or agents on behalf of the union, take part in any trade dispute or promote, organise or finance any strike or lockout, or provide pay or other benefits for its members during a strike or lock-out;
(c) the trade union shall be dissolved and its funds disposed of in such manner as may be prescribed and, subject thereto, in accordance with the rules of the union; and
(d) no person shall, except for the purpose of dissolving the union and disposing of its funds in accordance with the rules or for the purpose of an appeal under section 71A against such refusal, withdrawal or cancelation, take any part in its management or organisation, or act or purport to act on behalf of the union or as an officer of the union.

Strikes and lock-outs

No trade union of workmen or trade union of employers can call for a strike or lock-out without first obtaining the consent by secret ballot of at least two-thirds of its total number of members who are entitled to vote.

Membership of minors

Any person, who is above the age of sixteen, may be a member of a registered trade union... However, a member of a trade union who has not attained the age of eighteen years shall not be entitled to vote on any of the following matters—

(a) strikes and lock-outs;
(b) the imposition of a levy;
(c) dissolution of the trade union;
(d) amendment of the rules of the trade union which results in increasing the liability of the members to contribute or decreasing the benefits of the members.