Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
THE Malaysia Airlines System Employees Union said it would compile complaints from its members on the termination and offer letters that have been sent to Malaysia Airlines (MAS) employees yesterday.
Its secretary-general, Abdul Malek Ariff, said all MAS employees would receive their letters this week and the union would hold a meeting to hear complaints, as well as to discuss the next course of action.
“We will advise our members accordingly, for instance, whether they should take action against the parties concerned or if their rights have been violated. “Some employees have received a letter stating they will be hired on a contract basis. “If so, he or she ought to know what their payment and benefits would be like.
We will stand by the employees’ rights,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
Malek said those on medical leave often were among those whose services were terminated.
He said MAS could have offered the voluntary separation scheme (VSS) to its employees instead of coming up with various offers and complicated formulae of payment to those whose employment had been terminated.
Malaysian Pilots Association president Captain Abdul Manan Mansor said the pilot fraternity would not be greatly affected by the restructuring exercise as many had left the company to join local and international airlines.
“Many of them, including senior pilots, have been hired by domestic and Middle East airlines where our pilots are sought after.
“MAS has to do whatever it takes to ensure the national airline remains competitive and profitable.
Otherwise, it can be an embarrassment to the airline and to Malaysia.
Who would want to work for a company which is running at a loss?
“Those who got the termination letter should not despair.
There are a lot of vacancies in the airline industry if one is willing to adapt to a new environment and new salary package,” Manan said, adding that he hoped MAS would retain its brand name as it was widely known globally.
National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) president Ismail Nasaruddin described yesterday as the blackest day of MAS history, where 6,000 employees have their services terminated.
He said 3,500 Nufam members had been served with either the offer or termination letters. “This is the most drastic moment for us and it is quite chaotic.
“Imagine the sadness and depression some would have to go through. “MAS could have at least offered three months’ paid leave.”
Malaysian Trade Union Centre president Mohammad Khalid Atan said MAS could have opted for other cost-cutting measures instead of laying off its employees.
“Why must the workers become the victims when the fault is with the management? It is unfortunate that MAS will be losing its talents to other airlines.”
Source: NEWS STRAITS TIMES ONLINE
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