Failure to respect employee's right to representation in Malaysia
Lead NCPUnited Kingdom
Supporting NCP(s)None Selected
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) regarding the activities of British American Tobacco operating in Malaysia.
Theme(s)Employment and industrial relations
Date11 Dec 2007
Host country(ies)Malaysia
SourceTrade Union
Industry sectorManufacturing, Wholesale and retail trade

Read the final statement issued by the UK NCP concluding the specific instance - 4 March 2011

Read the initial assessment issued by the UK NCP

Read the follow-up statement issued by the UK NCP - 8 July 2011

In December 2007, the UK NCP received a request for review by Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), on behalf of its affiliate British American Tobacco Employees’ Union (BATEU), alleging that British American Tobacco Malaysia (BATM) had breached the employment and industrial relations provisions of the Guidelines for restructuring its workforce in Malaysia. MTUC alleged that this restructuring was undertaken to reduce the company's union membership union to the point of dissolution. MTUC made a secondary complaint that insufficient consultation took place with BATEU over the restructuring. British American Tobacco is BATM’s controlling company.

The UK NCP offered professional mediation/conciliation to the parties, but British American Tobacco and BATM declined the offer due to ongoing legal proceedings in Malaysia.

In light of the explanation for the restructuring provided by BATM and the subsequent official rulings by Malaysian authorities, the NCP considered that it would be unproductive to further examine the question of whether the restructuring had caused a reduction in the membership of the union. However, the NCP considered that BATM had failed to uphold high standards on employment and industrial relations by failing to consult BATEU about the company's restructuring. The NCP therefore recommended that British American Tobacco should encourage BATM to establish a permanent and regular process to consult and inform its employees before key decisions of mutual concern are taken.

A follow-up statement was issued and examines whether British American Tobacco and BATM had made progress in implementing the NCP’s recommendations. The NCP welcomed the steps taken by BATM to minimise the risk of future breaches of the Guidelines.