Wednesday, December 10, 2014

MAS Act not tackling real issues’ - trade union blasts M'sian govt

 See earlier post: Now 37 groups have endorsed this statement Malaysian Airlines(MAS) Employees and Trade Union Rights at risk by new law being rushed through


MAS Act not tackling real issues’ - trade union blasts M'sian govt

PETALING JAYA - Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has blasted the new Malaysian Airline System Bhd Act (MAS Act) which it said specifically targets the employees of the national carrier and have not addressed issues of lopsided contracts and mismanagement head on.

MTUC's Sarawak division secretary Andrew Lo pointed out that the MAS Act will take away hard earned retirement and termination benefits as well as bring the end of existing trade unions and associations representing the employees of MAS.

"Worse, it will tear up the existing collective agreement (CA) that was agreed upon between the unions and MAS," he said in a statement yesterday.

Under the MAS Act, he noted, that the new entity, Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), will not be responsible for any monies due to employees, including termination benefits of at least 6,000 who will lose their jobs.

Lo warned that all 20,000 employees of MAS will naturally be terminated when the present entity cease to exist.

"It is expected that the new MAB will employ most of these, (except the 6000) MAS employees.

However, the terms and conditions will be entirely at the discretion of MAB," he said.

MAB will also pick and choose which employees and union leaders from MAS that it wants.

Lo said the employees who are terminated will also most likely not be able to recover retrenchment or termination benefits provided for in law as MAS's asset will be transferred to the new MAB.

"This is where it is most discriminatory and unfair as the Act allows for liabilities due to other creditors including those lopsided contracts be transferred to the new MAB. It is unacceptable to deny lower ranked employees their basic and minimal rights," he said.

Lo added that the creditors are further protected, as the Act requires MAB to appoint an independent advisor to review any re-negotiation of contracts.

"The independent advisor may take into consideration the interests of the (lopsided) creditors," he said.

"By targeting specifically the employees and trade unions, the government is barking up the wrong tree. Until the issue of mismanagement is addressed head on, any restructuring is unlikely to succeed." -Sundaily


In MAS revamp, crew union fears members, families left out in the cold

Published: December 5, 2014 09:34 AM(Malay Mail)

Nufam said the MAS restructuring will affect over 6,000 of the airline's employees and an estimated 30,000 families. — Picture by Saw Siow FengNufam said the MAS restructuring will affect over 6,000 of the airline's employees and an estimated 30,000 families. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 ― Expecting widespread layoffs in the impending shake-up of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), one of the airline's staff unions has urged owner Khazanah Nasional Berhad to assure its members that their interests will be protected.

In a statement here, the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) said the MAS restructuring will affect over 6,000 of the airline's employees and an estimated 30,000 families.

"So how does Khazanah Nasional intend to help the families of those MAS staff members affected?

"The lower income employees in MAS have been dependant on basic medical benefits and their income to sustain their livelihood all these years... they have been supported by company's insurance and medical benefits but soon, all these will be gone.

"So how will they sustain these burdens if Khazanah Nasional were to lay them off completely?"

Nufam secretary-general Mohd Akram Osman asked in the statement.

Sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, which has nearly 70 per cent stake in MAS, plans to turn around the ailing flag carrier by trimming the labour force of some 20,000 workers to just 14,000, according to the plan announced on August 29 this year.

The national carrier was delisted in August after the fund offered to buy out its minority share for a total of RM1.38 billion to restructure MAS, which suffered two major aviation disasters this year, MH370 and MH17.

The total takeover is to cost Khazanah Nasional some RM6 billion.

Khazanah Nasional's 12-point turnaround plan for the national carrier, titled "Rebuilding A National Icon – The MAS Recovery Plan", also includes transferring all MAS assets to a new entity tentatively known as “MAS Baru” or “new MAS”.

Nufam said the airline should offer its employees options to leave voluntarily or be compensated in a deal based on their number of years in service.

The layoffs should be done in stages, the union added, and the airline management should clearly spell out its criteria in the selection process when absorbing old staff members into the newly-formed MAS entity.

Mohd Akram claimed that in a "turun padang" session with airline crew members, the management had failed to answer a number of questions, including on the selection criteria, and merely said that the employees would be picked based on "merit".

"What merits are they talking? These staff have been with MAS for more than 10 years and isn't that already proven of their loyalty with the company?

"We dread to see the job alternative plans given to them will match of what they have been getting as it may not be sufficient enough to cover their monthly expenses," he said.

He added that with the newly-proposed MAS Act coming into force soon, time is running out for the airline's employees.

"We urge Khazanah and the Ministry of Human Resources to mediate these issues and create a more holistic approach with the union and our cabin crew staffs who will be affected by the restructuring exercise," Mohd Akram said, adding that Nufam will be available at anytime to discuss the issue.

The MAS Act tabled in Parliament last week proposes that a new entity called Malaysia Airlines Berhad be set up to replace Malaysian Airline System Berhad.

Its draft also suggests special laws for the administration of the airlines and all subsidiaries in addition to stricter rules regulating airline unions.

While tabling the Act, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Abdul Wahid Omar said that all matters to be discussed and negotiated between Malaysia Airlines Berhad and unions will be by way of meetings.

The proposed bill also stated that resourcing and allocation of resources, assessment of employees, leave entitlement, working hours and scheduling of work, including flight time limitation and flight duty periods will be determined by the new entity.

Apart from Nufam, other unions representing MAS workers are the Malaysia Airlines System Employees Union (Maseu), Malaysia Airlines Employees Union Peninsular Malaysia, and the Malaysia Airlines Pilot Association.

Flight MH17 was shot down in Ukraine in July, four months after flight MH370, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur vanished mid-air in March. The latter has yet to be found.

However, even before the mysterious disappearance, the carrier had racked up RM4.13 billion in losses over three years.
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