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By Marilyn Ten
KUCHING: Four airline workers’ unions in Sarawak and Sabah have declared their full support for the new management of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) in moving forward to a new chapter of the airline company under Malaysian Airlines Bhd (MAB) — which will begin operations this Sept 1.
Airlines Workers Union Sarawak (AWUS) secretary Lim Swee Seng said the past several months had been very challenging for MAS employees and their unions having to deal with the restructuring and the laying off of some 6,000 employees.
“It is very painful to see 6,000 of our colleagues lose their jobs. We will work together with the management to ensure that those who have to leave MAS, leave with dignity and confidence in their new careers,” he told a press conference held at Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak office yesterday.
There are 1,200 employees in Sarawak and Sabah — less than 20 per cent of whom were retrenched.
Lim said the unions were very encouraged by the approach and diligent manner of the restructuring team led by federal government investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd and new MAS chief executive officer Christoph Mueller who had managed it in a humane, dignified and fair manner.
“No union wants to see jobs lost and we understand some employees are not fully satisfied with either their job offer or the compensation package.
“However under the circumstances, we believe that this is the only way forward and that the offer of employment and the compensation package is reasonable,” he noted.
According to him, 98 per cent of the airlines’ employees have agreed to the offer of employment.
“All employees terminated including those offered re-employment will get termination benefits in accordance with the relevant labour laws, or up to 0.55 times monthly salary per year of service.
“Those who are not offered will get up to 1.5 months of salary for each year of service.”
He added that the initial negotiation for the remuneration package was not even up to 1.5 months of salary as the management then had described the request as ‘something impossible’.
“But after the fourth meeting with the Khazanah team, CEO and management, they have agreed to give 1.5 months salary (for each year of service) for those who are leaving.”
Lim said what the airline employees wanted now was to be able to roll up their sleeves and get down to serious and hard work to make sure that the restructuring exercise would succeed.
“We fully support the appointment of our new CEO Christoph Mueller to lead our airline in these challenging times and want our new airline to fly ahead not just with a clear vision but also with a clear conscience.”
He also called on all union members and employees of the new airline to move ahead and work in a professional and transparent manner with the management to address productivity, motivation and teamwork issues that have hampered the airline in the past.
“There will be numerous challenges ahead and tough choices that will still need to be made. We request employees who have grievances to raise it through us.
“We believe that we can play our part to resolve these issues with the management in an amicable, constructive, transparent and fair manner,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Executive Staff Committee (SESC) president Abdul Rahman Hassan said what was crucial now was for the union members to come together and work with the new management.
“There may be some disgruntled employees so we are here to face the challenges. Our focus has always been on the employees’ welfare so if there were any grievances, please do not hesitate and come to us.”
Also present at the press conference were MTUC Sarawak president Mohd Ibrahim Hamid, MTUC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo, AWUS president Haswandy Morshidi, SESC secretary Aziz Ali, and Airlines Transport Workers Union Sabah president Awang Musa Awang Kassim.
Source: BORNEO POST online
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