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 KAMLES KUMAR
PETALING JAYA, June 9 — Malaysia Airline Bhd (MAB) employees will proceed with a “tools down” protest unless the carrier retracts the termination of 6,000 employees, the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) said today.
NUFAM president Ismail Nasaruddin said that the union was giving MAB, previously Malaysia Airline System (MAS), two days to comply.
“We demand MAS to withdraw all their termination letters in 48 hours and meet with NUFAM to renegotiate the deals.
“If the conditions are not met, all employees are to go ahead with a tools down protest and protest until all the conditions are met,” he told reporters today.
However, Ismail declined to state the number of current and former employees who would take part in the protest, but added that the event will be held at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) if it proceeds.
Among NUFAM’s demands include the withdrawal of all termination letters from MAS, a renegotiation of terms with union bodies, and a guarantee that workers will be unfairly compensated.
Ismail added among the other demands include the airline to “re-employ all employees back and offer them Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) instead of termination”.
He also called on MAS to publish a list of the employees rehired after the termination exercise.
“If MAS claims their termination to be fair, they should publish the list of employees who have been retained. Give us details,” Ismail urged.
He also said NUFAM would be holding a candlelight vigil at the Subang Skypark airport to show solidarity for the terminated workers on the night of June 12.
Two former MAS employees were also present at the press conference today.
One is a single mother who just lost her husband seven months ago. She demanded the airlines reinstate her job, saying she was unfairly terminated despite being with the company for 18 years.
“I just want my job back, how am I going to take care of my child,” the woman who declined to be named told reporters.
Another, a diabetic patient, accused MAS of firing her despite knowing her health condition.
MAS had on June 1 sent termination letters to the entire 20,000 MAS workforce where only two-thirds will be offered new jobs at the new entity, MAB.
The new airline, a smaller entity, will only be able to accommodate about 14,000 employees.
The national carrier was delisted in August after sovereign wealth fund Khazanah offered to buy out minority shareholders for a total of RM1.38 billion to restructure MAS.
Source: Malay Mail Online
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