Don’t target MAS employees and blame unions — MTUC Sarawak
By Cynthia Blemin / The Edge Financial Daily | December 5, 2014 : 9:50 AM MYT
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak has weighed in on the new MAS Act, saying that the new law specifically targets Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) employees as scapegoats for the series of mismanagement that led to the decline of the ailing carrier.
“It does not address issues of lopsided contracts and mismanagement head-on,” said its secretary Andrew Lo in a statement.
He cited the issues of overpriced “nasi lemak” and the million-dollar paintings in MAS corporate boardrooms as some of the more obvious examples of mismanagement that the national carrier had seen in recent years.
“Given the already stifling laws on trade unions and industrial relations, blaming unions and employees for the malaise just shows how incompetent the management and board of MAS had been. Until the issue of mismanagement is addressed head-on, any restructuring is unlikely to succeed,” he said.
Some 6,000 MAS employees are slated to be terminated in the restructuring of the entity but they are unlikely to be able to recover their retrenchment or termination benefits as MAS’ assets will be transferred to the new entity, Malaysian Airlines Bhd (MAB), he said.
“This is where it is most discriminatory and unfair as the act allows for liabilities due to other creditors including those lopsided contracts to be transferred to the new MAB. It is unacceptable to deny lower-ranked employees their basic and minimal rights.
“Worse, it will tear up the existing collective agreement that was agreed upon between the unions and MAS,” he said.
MTUC Sarawak recognises that tough choices and sacrifices have to be made by all.
“We must not forget that, during all these tribulations, MAS employees have been working long hours without any bonus for the past many years. Some even worked for up to 13 days without an off day,” he said.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 5, 2014.