Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Malaysian Airlines - Secret Ballot for Union Recognition after MAB fails to accord recognition to NUFAM?

Flight attendants at Malaysian Airlines are having their secret ballot to gain recognition from Malaysian Airlines - 19, 20, 21,25 and 26th April 2017.  

About 1,900 flight attendants are qualified and will be voting -National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM)needs more than 950 flight attendants to come and vote for the UNION (remember those who do not manage to vote, even if they are for the union, will be considered as having voted against the Union)

Malaysian Airlines now owned by the new company Malaysian Airlines Berhad(MAB), has rejected the recognition of NUFAM, a union representing flight attendants in the Malaysian Airlines and other airlines in the country. Now because of this rejection, the 'secret ballot' is ongoing, and if more than 50% of all employees(who qualify to be in this union) come and vote in favour, then  the Minister will 'order' that MAB recognize NUFAM as the union representing flight attendants in Malaysian Airlines...

SAD - that MAB, 100% owned by the UMNO-BN Malaysian government, who came into being to take over Malaysian Airlines from Malaysian Airlines System Berhad(another wholly owned Malaysian government company), has objected to NUFAM's application for recognition, which has now forced this 'secret ballot'. 

Why did the Malaysian Airlines just not accord recognition to NUFAM - something that any worker rights respecting employer would have done? Why delay workers the right to a 'recognized union"? Remember, that in Malaysia only after the employer company recognizes the trade union, can the trade union start discussions and sign a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the employer...

The 'secret ballot' process is also very unjust. Why? Well, all those that could not turn up to vote would be considered as being against the union, even if they really are for the union. So, if there were 100 qualified flight attendants entitled to be members of the union, and 49 only managed to turn up and vote, and they all all voted in favour of the Union - they will still lose, because the 51 who never managed to turn up will be deemed to have voted against the union...so unfair and unjust. [We are talking about flight attendants here, and they are flying all over the world as part of their work - hence, it will be difficult for all of them to turn up and vote....]

More than 50% - What if 40% wanted the union - why should they be denied the right to a Collective Bargaining Agreement between their union, NUFAM, and Malaysian Airlines. Surely, a more just percentage should be 20%.

Why reduce to 20%? Well, nowadays many employees are precarious employees, i.e. on 'short-term contracts' - and these may not be so interested in a Union or Collective Bargaining Agreements, since by the time the Agreement finally comes into effect, these employees may no more be in the employer company. Different in the past, when almost 95% of the employees are regular employees - permanent employment until retirement...? Today, to still insist on more than 50% is absurd - it should be reduced to 20%.

MALAYSIAN AIRLINES have an history of union busting and anti-union behavior...

* Remember, how the Airlines Employees Union (a national union representing employees of all airlines) was deregistered, and its leaders were arrested under the Internal Security Act(ISA) in 1978-79 following an industrial action of Malaysian Airlines Employees.

* Effectively, the UMNO-BN government destroyed the then national trade union - which subsequently was replaced by a more 'docile' in-house union, MASEU (Malaysian Airline System Employees' Union Peninsular Malaysia) and several other in-house unions. Then all these in-house unions were effectively 'extinguished' when Malaysian Airlines was handed over to a new company, Malaysian Airlines Berhad(MAB). Being in-house unions, this meant that all these unions must be formed and registered all over again. The only union that survived this transfer of assets to another company was NUFAM (a new national union). 

To facilitate the transfer, or more likely to prevent existing liabilities of the old company being made liabilities of the new company, an Act of Parliament was passed. They could have had provisions in this new law that allowed existing in-house unions to simply change their name and continue to be the union of the employees of the new company - but that clearly was not the UMNO-BN government's intention...so all in-house unions effectively 'killed'..

*NUFAM tried to get recognition of Malaysian Airlines System - Well, Malaysian Airlines Systems, was not for trade unions - also objected to recognition of NUFAM, forcing also a 'secret ballot' that resulted in favour of NUFAM -62.73% of all qualified employees indicated that they were with NUFAM. Even after, the relevant Minister decided that NUFAM be accorded recognition, Malaysian Airlines System Berhad challenged the Minister's decision in court..., and of course, it all 'ended' when all assets of Malaysian Airlines System Berhad was transferred to the new company, Malaysian Airlines Berhad(MAB)

See earlier post:-

MAS must withdraw the legal suit challenging the recognition of NUFAM - members need their Union during this precarious period in MAS.

* Will the flight attendants at Malaysian Airlines finally have a recognized union? Or will this right to a recognized union still be delayed....It really all depends on the UMNO-BN government of Malaysia as this is still a wholly government-owned company...

See earlier posts:-

54 groups and unions:- Malaysian Airlines Must Respect Trade Union and Worker Rights Cease Anti-Union activities against NUFAM and its members





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