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Malaysian workers marked May Day 2005 with a protest against globalization and privatization, which they feel are gradually eroding away their rights and making poor Malaysians poorer.

Thousands of trade union members were joined by many more political and grassroots activists as well as workers from marginalized sectors from across the country.

The demonstration’s theme was “Globalization erodes workers’ rights”, with a focus on water and health care privatization.

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress, the main organizers of the gathering, is heading into unknown territory under the leadership of committed trade unionists who swept aside the national labour centre’s previous leadership, which was widely seen as politically compromised.

For newly elected MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud, workers have reason to worry about globalization – and there are many parallels for CUPE members in Canada.

”We are concerned about privatization, the right (which has been taken away) of civil servants to engage in collective bargaining, lack of security of tenure, (the struggle for) a minimum wage, and the occupational safety and health of workers,” he told IPS.

Visit the Inter Press News web site http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=28500 to read the full story.