3,500 retrenched staff have waited for 2 years

SUBANG JAYA: The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) wants the Human Resources Ministry to explain its failure to refer the cases of 3,500 former Malaysia Airlines (MAS) staff to the industrial court, over two years after they were retrenched.

Its president Ismail Nasaruddin said the laid-off employees had filed for claim against MAS to the ministry within 60 days of their retrenchment, but have yet to receive any development or referral letter.

"It's over two years now. Where are the cases? They are still not referred to the industrial court, and are still with the ministry.

"This is justice delayed, and denying workers their rights. We have sent a letter to the Minister (Datuk Seri Richard Riot), and most recently, on Sept 6 to the deputy minister and secretary-general, and still nothing.

"We are demanding for the ministry to speed up the referral process of the cases," he told a press conference, here, today.

Malaysian Airline System Bhd, had on June 1, 2015, announced that they were laying off some 6,000 of its staff (3,500 of which are under Nufam) as part of its restructuring programme.

Ismail said while all of them were paid compensation, most believed their services were terminated without proper procedures being followed, while many were unhappy with the compensation given.

"If referred, and they (former MAS staff) win the case, they can get up to 24 months' salary, plus other benefits where the court deems fit.

He expressed worry that the recent re-branding of MAS to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) would make the case invalid, once the takeover process is completed some time next year.

"We are worried that by the time the case is referred to the industrial court, MAS is fully shut down. We heard from lawyers that the full takeover would most probably be completed next year," he said.

When contacted for comment, Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib said: "I can't answer that, I don't know."

On a separate issue, Ismail condemned MAS' decision to lay off five of their veteran cabin crews on Sept 14 for "being overweight", describing it as a harassment and discriminatory practice.

Pointing out that all are above 50 years of age, he said it was unfair to ask them to shed the pounds considering their age, despite an 18-month's notice to do so.