Trade Unions: Relevant Out of Irrelevant? A Study on Generation’s Perception in Malaysia

Che Supian Mohamad Nor, Ramesh Kumar Moona Haji Mohamed, Charles Ramendran SPR, Prem Kumar Nadarajan, Vimala Kadiresan


Generational differences on workforce in Malaysia have stirred the value of trade unionism. The transition from generation-X to generation-Y has created diverse perceptions on the relevance of being a member of a trade union. In the near future, generation-Y will be the bastion of the Malaysian workforce. They will be a fundamental actor in reshaping the industrial relations ecosystem in Malaysia. In this respect, this study focused on unionized and non-unionized generation-X and Y employee’s perception on the importance of trade unionism in the Malaysian context. Using a qualitative study, face-to-face semi-structured interviews with targeted respondents were conducted. The findings showed that the trade union do bring contributions to employees and protect employees from unfair actions but the density of trade unions declined due to unclear information known about trade unionism among generation Y. Based on the research findings, practical implications are discussed.

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