Remember Malaysian PM, Najib Razak, is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Khazanah Nasional Berhad. the Government of Malaysia's strategic investment fund. MAS(Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad) is wholly owned by Khazanah. Nothing can be done without the approval and/or instructions of the Board of Directors or the owners, being the government of Malaysia.
Now, in a media report(2/6/2015), it was revealed that even women currently on maternity leave are being terminated. These allegations are being made by The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM).
Remember also another report that I blogged about -
Now, today we have a Bernama report that quotes a 'source' which denies the allegations of 'discrimination' but makes no mention whether it is true that employees on maternity leave are also being terminated...whether it is true that single mothers are also being terminated.
'Source' - now, this source is unnamed and unidentified. Is this 'source' speaking on behalf of Malaysian Airlines System Berhad(MAS)? Or is this source speaking on behalf of the intended new company - Malaysian Airlines Berhad(MAB)? Or is this source talking on behalf of the owners (or Board of Directors) of Khazanah Nasional?
Now BERNAMA is not any ordinary private media organization - it is the Malaysian National News Agency - it is a Statutory Body.
The source in the BERNAMA report attacks NUFAM - well, let us get back to the facts.
NUFAM applied for recognition from MAS, which MAS did not accord. Hence, a secret ballot was done in which all employees qualified to be members of NUFAM had a right to vote - and during the secret ballot, 62.73% voted in favour of the Union, and thereafter the Minister ordered that NUFAM is accorded recognition. Then MAS the employer challenged the Minister's decision to accord recognition. The matter is still in court. NUFAM is for all intents and purposes a recognized union - MAS may have obtained a temporary order preventing NUFAM exercising rights that follow such recognition which includes entering into a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
MAS should have just accepted the Minister's decision - but they did not. MAS could have withdrawn their court case - but they did not. [See earlier post:- MAS must withdraw the legal suit challenging the recognition of NUFAM - members need their Union during this precarious period in MAS.
62.73% have clearly indicated that they want NUFAM as their Union - but alas, it is MAS that has prevented this right of the 62.73% of MAS's flight attendants to be represented by NUFAM. Now, there would have been many flight attendants who may not have been able to cast their votes because they were in the air or elsewhere by reason of their duties. Hence, NUFAM's support can reasonably said to be more.
So, why did MAS(and its owners, Khazanah) keep NUFAM out of these consultations?
Remember we are not talking about a private company - but a government owned company - 100% owned by Khazanah whose chairmen is Najib, who is also the Prime Minister of Malaysia. As such, the best example should have been exhibited with regard to unions and workers.
Being a National Union, NUFAM may be the only union that outlives this whole 'transfer' of assets and business to a new company - Malaysian Airlines Berhad(MAB). Over the past months, of all the Unions that represent MAS employees, it can be said that NUFAM had been the most vocal...
Nufam hits out at MAS for axing crew on maternity leave
Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin said the management was being heartless by axing female cabin crew members who were on maternity leave.
The airline began sending out termination letters to some 20,000 staff yesterday, but will offer re-employment to some 14,000 staff.
"MAS has terminated the jobs of women crew members who are currently on maternity leave and asked them finish their leave even though they know that these crew are on maternity," Ismail said a press conference today in Subang. He said this was an insensitive move to employees who served the airline for many years.
He added that the job cuts had badly affected some employees, especially single parents or couples where both spouses worked for the airline
"This is an injustice. They have completely disregarded the future of these workers and have not given them a chance to continue working," Ismail said.
Lawyer Shailender Bhar, who is representing some Nufam members, said MAS's actions against staff on maternity leave could be a violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw), to which Malaysia became a signatory in 1995.
"It goes against Cedaw whereby we have recognised the rights of women in any sector of work. Such a move amounts to denying women workers their rights," Shailender said.
Ismail said terminating the jobs of women employees on maternity leave could have a negative impact on mothers, more so after just having gone through childbirth and coping with the stress of handling a newborn.
Nufam also said MAS had not paid workers in lieu of leave for 2014 that were not cleared, as this matter was not addressed in the letters sent out by MAS yesterday.
"Remaining leave in 2014 have not been paid back to the workers," Ismail said.
Nufam was also disputing the differences in the terms and offers given to employees who were being re-employed with the rebranded MAS Bhd, he added.
The airline has given those offered reemployment another 11 days to decide on accepting their new jobs.
MAS's new chief executive officer Christoph Mueller yesterday gave the media a general overview of the national carrier's restructuring, adding that MAS was now technically bankrupt. – June 2, 2015, Malaysian Insider
No discrimination in MAS lay-off, says source
"The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) is just being ‘disingenuous and sneaky’ in the way it portrays itself by intentionally disregarding hard facts concerning the issue," said the source.
Nufam on Tuesday said MAS had offered unequal re-employment terms and conditions to those affected, as some long-serving cabin crew including those currently on maternity leave and single mothers were left out.
"All unions in MAS were consulted several times and have been working fairly and constructively with management. Nufam is right in saying that it had not been consulted. But it fails to mention it is an unrecognised union in MAS," another source told Bernama. They added that the biggest of MAS's unions, the Malaysia Airlines System Employees Union (Maseu) had always objected to Nufam and legal cases were ongoing between them.
"So, how can the management consult a union that is unrecognised without incurring the wrath of the recognised union for cabin crew like Maseu?" said the source.
As Nufam’s claim for recognition is pending judicial review at the High Court, it is not recognised by MAS, and therefore has not been engaged or consulted on employee related matters.
Nufam had said single mothers and other vulnerable groups were being heartlessly "let go" by MAS, while ignoring the fact that these groups would be getting 30% on top of the collective agreement settlement which many had accepted as generous for a company in such deep financial difficulties like MAS, they said.
On claims that MAS even terminated female crew members who were on maternity leave, the source said the termination notice was valid for three months and employees leaving MAS, including those who are on two-month maternity leave, would continue to be paid their monthly salary during the notice period, and receive the termination package in September. – Bernama, June 2, 2015.- Malaysian Insider, 3/6/2015