KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has urged Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAS) to grant immediate recognition to the National Union of Flight Attendants of Malaysia (Nufam).
The move MTUC said would also enable the government-linked-company (GLC) to respect the Federal court decision on the dispute involving MAS and Nufam.
After a two-year court battle, on Wednesday, the court denied MAB leave to appeal in a dispute with Nufam. This was over the national carrier's failure to acknowledge that in-flight supervisors (IFS workers) as not being employed in any managerial, executive, confidential or security capacity.
"This had rendered this group of work as not having a right to vote to recognise Nufam as a union.
"We thank all the courts concerned for recognising the basic rights of workers in the country," said MTUC secretary-general, J. Solomon, in a statement, today.
He said ever since MAS was formed in 2015 in place of Malaysia Airline System Bhd which was wound up, it had not recognised Nufam as a union representing its employees.
As a result of the decision by the Apex court on July 22, Nufam's trade union recognition process can proceed with IFS workers allowed to vote, Solomon said.
"As a GLC, we urge the MAS management to set a good example by granting the recognition of the union immediately as too much time has been wasted because of the legal battle which the airline instituted.
He said the tussle between the party's had deprived workers their basic social protection for many years and the only remedy is to grant immediate recognition for the Union to negotiate a collective agreement.
"If MAS does not even do this, it will only confirm their continuity of anti union tactics, which may seem like the government is using its GLCs to bust unions," Solomon said.
He added the right to form trade unions is protected in the labour laws of Malaysia.
"Yet, trade unions face numerous hurdles in their quest to demand from employers' job security, decent work and fair wages for workers.
"Certainly, most workers expect the government to ensure that this right is not only protected but enhanced as the situation demands, in the interest of workers," he said.
This right he said encompasses unions' right to organise, draw up constitutions and rules, elect their representatives in full freedom, to organise their administration and their activities, and to formulate their programmes.
On the other hand, Solomon said unions expect that public authorities to refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede their lawful exercise of those rights.
"So, it is rather unfortunate that government-linked companies (GLCs), that is, companies in which the Malaysian government has a direct controlling stake and partake in commercial activities on the government's behalf, engage in activities that undermine the formation and functioning of trade unions," he said.
Solomon said the numerous hurdles put in place by Malaysia Airlines Bhd, with its strong anti-union stance, against the Nufam, makes the principles of freedom of association illusory.
He said the importance of unions to protect workers was highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic which saw many companies resorting to ignore the plight of the poor workers despite the government warning them not to make them go on annual leave, cut their salaries or retrench the workers.
"In many instances, there were no unions and it was thus easy for employers to disregard the voice of the workers," he said.
He added that Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong should take the initiative to show that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government cares for the plight of the employees and direct the MAS management to invite Nufam to the negotiating table and settle the issue once and for all.
"The fact that all the courts including the Federal Court had not disputed the Human Resource Ministry's decision to allow the categories of staff in dispute shows that it was a sound decision. So MAS should respect this and not wait any longer," he said.
Source : https://www.nst.com.my/…/mab-urged-recognise-nufam-followin…