Don’t let MAB bust unions, airline crew tells Putrajaya

NUFAM urged the government to ensure Malaysia Airlines Berhad do not take away employees’ right to be unionised. — File pic
NUFAM urged the government to ensure Malaysia Airlines Berhad do not take away employees’ right to be unionised. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — The union representing cabin crew at Malaysia Airlines System (MAS) urged Putrajaya today to intervene to ensure that the national carrier’s new entity would allow for their employees to be unionised.

The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) executive secretary Shona Marcus said the company will not succeed without the support and commitment from employees, hence their rights have to be protected.

“Workers cannot be forced to agree with every contract which they are not agreeable to, thus the company cannot simply come out with a contract without first engaging with the workers’ representatives,” she said in a statement.

She said the airline should respect the industry and trade unions law as the transparency and effectiveness of the team selected by the management to review workers’ issues are also “questionable”.

“There is also a complete ignorance of labour laws if MAB is allowed to do this and start a union busting exercise. Under the current existing labour laws, there should not be any restriction for workers to become trade union members, more so if they are from any airline for that matter,” she said, referring to the airline’s new name, Malaysia Airlines Berhad.

Marcus cited examples where female workers have been fired while on maternity leave as well as others, she claimed were fired if they got pregnant.

“They must not behave like true masters of slavery but should treat their employees with dignity,” she said.

MAS had on June 1 sent letters to the entire 20,000-strong MAS workforce, offering only two-thirds of them new jobs with the new entity, MAB.

The national carrier was delisted in August last year after sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional offered to buy out minority shareholders for a total of RM1.38 billion to restructure MAS.

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