Saturday, December 7, 2013

MALAYSIA:::Crew union threatens to picket over MAS snub, chief’s sacking

NUFAM President Ismail Nasaruddin holding a press conference at Kayu Nasi Kandar,USJ Taipan 10. — Picture by Saw Siow FengNUFAM President Ismail Nasaruddin holding a press conference at Kayu Nasi Kandar,USJ Taipan 10. PETALING JAYA, Dec  — A union representing cabin crew members of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) today threatened to picket over the national carrier’s refusal to the acknowledge the union and the firing of its president.

A meeting between MAS, the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) and the Human Resources Ministry, scheduled for this morning over the union’s grievances, has been postponed indefinitely.
The airline has also fired its chief steward and Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin, after previously suspending him over his call for MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya to resign, triggering allegations of union busting.
“We may take an industrial action against MAS by calling for a picket, on the 27 and 28 of this month, tentatively.
“It all depends if MAS is still arrogant enough to not call this meeting, then it leaves no choice to the national union to do what it needs to do, to call for a picket, which is accordance to our industrial law,” said Ismail, who was sacked on November 29.
He said the union’s lawyers have suggested that it take the right steps to resolve its many complaints against the airline.
“Which is to file a violation of industrial relations act, that would be the first.
“The second would be submission of my registering of complaint to the industrial relations, which is under section 20 as an employee.
“Thirdly, of course there is going to be legal recourse which I would not express right now, but on a later date,” he said.
Ismail, who had been with the airline for the last 25 years, pointed out that a directive from the Human Resource Ministry on September 23 had stated that MAS Employees Union (Maseu) can no longer represent cabin crews as it has recognised Nufam as the only union to represent the airline’s cabin crew.
Despite the order, Maseu and Nufam remain locked in a tussle over which of the two represented the cabin crew members from the airlines. There are about 3,500 cabin crew members in MAS and Nufam represents about 1,500.

Today, Ismail repeated allegations of union busting against MAS, adding the management and Maseu were colluding to prevent crew members from quitting the former union for Nufam.

Maintaining that Nufam was not in any violation, Ismail said all they wanted was for MAS to be fair and professional by engaging with the union to negotiate a fresh collective agreement.

He accused Maseu of being ineffective in voicing out concerns and fighting for the rights of its cabin crew members, who claim to have been sidelined for years, compared to their colleagues.

Revoke suspension of union president IMMEDIATELY, NGOs & unions tell MAS
Revoke suspension of union president IMMEDIATELY, NGOs & unions tell MAS
We, the 40 undersigned civil society groups, trade unions and organizations are disturbed by the news that Malaysian Airlines, a government linked company, has suspended the president of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), Ismail Nasaruddin in connection with a statements made to the media by the Union, which amongst others suggested that MAS’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO),  Ahmad Jauhari Yahya who was appointed in 2011, should resign. Ismail was allegedly suspended without allowances with immediate effect starting Nov 8 following a news report quoting him that was published on the same day.
According to a news report, ‘…NUFAM Secretariat said it is calling on the prime minister to review Jauhari's contract and remove him as the CEO of MAS, which is a government appointed position, unhappy that there has been no changes in resolving the cabin crew's problems…’ (The Sun Daily, 8/11/2013, NUFAM calls for resignation of MAS' CEO).
Amongst the alleged grievances being raised by NUFAM, which represents 3,500 cabin crew at Malaysia Airlines (MAS), as was contained in the said Sun Daily report are:-
· New policy imposed by MAS on a weight control ruling where cabin crew are told to reduce their weight to achieve a certain body mass index within three to six months. Failure to do so would result in an automatic transfer to ground work. The new rule is also a blanket policy and affects all cabin crew members including those who have just returned from maternity leave and may find it difficult to drastically lose weight within a short time frame;
· Cabin crew who joined in 2004 or later are no longer able to enjoy the transport services provided by the airline for pick-up from home, and  Ismail said this is unfair to those who joined in 2004 or later, as they had signed contracts that included transportation as part of the benefits; and
· That the MAS management have allegedly cut costs drastically which affected the cabin crew resulting also a failure to review allowances and salaries.
We are especially concerned with this ‘weight control ruling’ which certainly is discriminatory against women, especially to those returning from pregnancy. Increase of body mass index sometimes may be beyond the control of a human being, and this really should not be used to affect their employment.
NUFAM alleges that it wants MAS to sit down with the Union to discuss and negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA/CA) but apparently MAS is not interested to do so at this moment, citing as reason some judicial review.
Now, MAS has commenced disciplinary actions against Ismail Nasaruddin, and according to a Malaysiakini report, it is allegedly because MAS said Ismail had acted in contradiction with his duties as a chief steward of the airline by issuing the statement. (Malaysiakini, 14/11/2011, MAS suspends chief steward for criticising CEO).
Now, clearly the statements were made by Ismail in his capacity as President of the Union, representing some 3,500 workers, and as such he has the duty and obligation to fight for the rights of workers and that includes applying pressure on the employer and even calling for the removal of any of such employer’s officers or even Directors who is standing in the way of a prompt resolution of the dispute. Unlike employers, every day that a worker’s issues is not resolved, it is the workers that will continue to suffer. A prompt resolution is best and just.
No worker, group of workers or unions should be barred from making public statements to the media or otherwise in the struggle for worker rights and human rights. This right is clearly acknowledged in the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, commonly known today as the UN Human Rights Defender Declaration.
We condemn the action of Malaysian Airlines (MAS) in commencing disciplinary actions against a Union leader, and urge MAS to immediately stop this and revoke the suspension of Ismail Nasaruddin.
We call on MAS to immediately sit down, negotiate and resolve these outstanding worker issues with the trade union rather than resorting to ‘union busting’ strategies which include disciplinary actions against  worker and union leaders who dare to fight for worker rights.
We call on the Malaysian government to immediately to act, given the fact of the much influence it has in a government-linked company like MAS, to ensure that justice is done for Ismail Nasaruddin, the Union and its members.
For and on behalf of the following 40 civil society groups, trade unions and organizations
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
CWI Malaysia (Committee For A Workers International  Malaysia)
Damn the Dams
Dignity International-Asia
Friends of Burma
Human Rights Ambassador for, United Kingdom
Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas(JERIT)
Kesatuan Eksekutif AIROD (KEA)
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWSSM)
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malaysians for Beng Hock
Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
MTUC Pahang
National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers (NUHBRW)
Network of Action For Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)
Paper and Paper Products Manufacturing Employees Union (PPPMEU)
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party-Philippines)
Pax Romana-ICMICA Asia
Peoples' Green Coalition
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor
Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association[SADIA]
Tenaga Nasional Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU)
The Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec
WIRDA (Women’s Institute Research Development and Advancement), Malaysia
Women’s Centre for Change Penang
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA – Batam, Indonesia

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