Malaysia is among the worst places in the world to work in, according to a new report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The nation was ranked 5 in the labour rights alliance’s Global Rights Index, which rated 139 countries from 1 to 5 based on 97 indicators which include access to legal protection and the right to strike.

Malaysia’s score places it alongside countries like Nigeria, Qatar and Bangladesh for its failure to guarantee workers’ rights.

ITUC said, in countries rated 5, legislation may spell out certain rights, but “workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices”.

In comparison, Singapore was rated 3 for “regular violation of rights” while Indonesia was ranked 4 for “systematic violation of rights”.

Overall the results are surprising: South Africa and Togo were among the nations with the best ratings, while developed nations like the United States scored 4. The worst places to work in include Palestine and Somalia.

“A country’s level of development proved to be a poor indicator of whether it respected basic rights to bargain collectively, strike for decent conditions, or simply join a union at all,” said ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC said it has been collecting data on the abuse of workers’ rights around the world for the past 30 years.

This is the first time the alliance has published its index to enable every government and business to see “how their laws and supply chains stack up”.

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