KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) has condemned the proposed MAS Act, claiming that the act violates existing employment and trade union laws and will not benefit MAS workers or its unions.
It is also crying foul over the manner in which the proposed act was swiftly passed in Parliament last week, particularly since some clauses in the bill aims to completely "wipe out" employees' rights to claim any current or future benefits when their contracts expire with the airline company.
In a statement today, NUFAM Secretary-General Mohd Akram Osman also questioned the need for a new act when Malaysia already has existing employment laws that “fits to benefit both employers and employees”.
He stressed that the proposed act, if passed into law, would jeopardise current employees’ benefits.
He said it would take away the rights of the union to represent employees in the Industrial Court, and that “it is absolutely trying to overpower the unions that represent the employees”.
"Khazanah (Nasional Bhd) is setting a wrong precedent and will send negative signals to other companies. Therefore, we call upon Khazanah to remove all such clauses immediately [or they] will jeopardise employees’ position,” he said.
He claimed that NUFAM's industrial lawyers had vetted the proposed act and claimed it to be “unacceptable”.
"They [Khazanah] cannot simply implement something without any consultation with our union," he said.
He added that there are 3,500 crew members in MAS and that NUFAM had learnt that almost 700, or more, might be laid off soon.
He also urged the Human Resources Minister to step in immediately to “settle this matter” and that Khazanah should engage the union to discuss possible settlements, together with the ministry, and not simply do what it will.
He said NUFAM would file a complaint to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to seek his intervention in the matter. Najib is also chairman of Khazanah.
Mohd Akram further said that the unions would consider it an injustice and a violation of existing trade union and employment laws if the "special" clauses pertaining to employees’ rights are not removed from the proposed act, and threatened that “further actions” would ensue.
However, he did not say what these actions would entail.