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?
BY MD IZWAN
The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) has accused Malaysia Airlines (MAS) of worker discrimination in its ongoing restructuring exercise which includes the culling of some 6,000 jobs.
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.
Source: The Malaysian Insider
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