A reader sent this through the comment section:
Urgent 28th December 2012
Protest Against Secret Ballot Exercise On MAS Cabin Crew & Claim of Recognition By National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM)
MASEU has been informed or given to understand that NUFAM has been registered and had sought recognition from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to represent its cabin crew.
MASEU is of the view that it is highly improper or right for recognition to be given by Malaysian Airlines to entertain NUFAM’s claim for recognition due to the following reasons:-
(1) A “general recognition” had long been accorded by MAS to MASEU as a general body to represent its non-executive employees including its cabin crew (i.e. graded staff) since the establishment of MASEU as an in-house union in 1979, after the Airlines Employees’ Union, Peninsular Malaya (AEU), (which represented most of Malaysia Airlines’ employees including those of foreign airlines that operated to Peninsular Malaysia) was deregistered.
(2) Giving recognition to two unions to represent the crew is not in the spirit of good industrial relations and would cause industrial disharmony among the cabin crew who are members of MASEU and members of NUFAM. This will conflict with the objective of the Industrial Relations Act 1967.
(3) MASEU cabin crew are well represented for 33 years in its central Committee since 1979 and currently is represented by four duly elected Cabin Crew. MASEU had successfully concluded Collective Agreement (CA) covering all its graded employees including cabin crew from the time of its establishment including the 2012 CA which MASEU had concluded with MAS on 12.12.2012.
After almost one year, we are puzzled to receive a circular via MH internal mail dated 20th December 2012 from Secretary General of NUFAM to MAS Cabin Crew that NUFAM and MAS have signed a Voting Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will allow the National Union of Flight Attendant (i.e. NUFAM) to conduct a secret ballot exercise in MAS and this secret ballot exercise will determine whether NUFAM will be allowed to manage MAS Cabin Crew’s CA.
MASEU protest to the proposed secret ballot exercise and MASEU request that the following action be taken by the Industrial Relations Department:-
a) To permit MAS not to entertain any claim of recognition by NUFAM to representatives cabin crew members on the grounds given above and it is improper for MAS to sign a Voting MOU with NUFAM on 19th December 2012 especially when there is already an existing in-house union i.e. MASEU that governs MAS Cabin Crew’s CA successful for 33 years,
b) To seek the good office of Director General of Trade Union / Minister of Human Resources to direct the NUFAM to amend its constitution to prohibit MAS cabin crew to join NUFAM on the ground that there is IN EXISTENCE an in-house trade union to represent MAS cabin crew, as evident from the Collective Agreements concluded with MAS SINCE 1979 and WHICH had been taken cognizance by the Industrial Court,
c) To advise the Director General of Trade Union to withdraw or cancel the certificate OF registration of NUFAM, under Section 15 (2)(a) of the Trade Unions Act 1959 (Act 262) as MASEU has the largest number of MAS employees as members of MASEU if NUFAM refuses to amend its constitution,
d) To cancel the proposed secret ballot exercise involving MAS Cabin Crew, as by allowing this exercise, would cause a conflict of interests or division of loyalty among MAS Cabin Crew, who are members of MASEU if they are invited to participate in the secret ballot.
e) To advise MAS to revoke the Voting MOU where MAS and NUFAM signed on 19th December 2012 as this contravenes Article 8 of the Collective Agreement (CA) between MAS and MASEU. An extract of Article 8 is reproduced below:-
“Article 8 – UNION RECOGNITION AND SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION
The company recognized the Union as the sole collective negotiating body representing its permanent employees in Peninsular Malaysia referred to in the Employees Classification Table set out in Schedule IV.”
MASEU views this matter seriously as the action of MAS management in signing the Voting MOU is tantamount to inducing MASEU Cabin Crew to refrain or resign to be a member of MASEU and this contravenes Section 5.1. (e) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 which is reproduced below:-
“SECTION 5 – PROHIBITION ON EMPLOYERS AND THEIR TRADE UNIONS IN RESPECT OF CERTAIN ACTS
5.1. No employer or trade union of employers, and no person acting on behalf of an employer or such trade union shall:-
(e) Induce a person to refrain from becoming or to cease to be a member or officer of a trade union by conferring or offering to confer any advantage on or by procuring or offering to procure any advantage for any person.”
MASEU believe that since the registration of NUFAM was under political pressure, we also believe that the secret ballot exercise is subsequently under political pressure to grant recognition to NUFAM to represent MAS Cabin Crew is an attempt to annihilate sustainability/survival of MASEU. This practice is highly undesirable and bad for fostering good industrial relations.
MASEU object strongly to the stand of the Ministry action and demand the Ministry to act rightly within the legal framework of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 and the Trade Union Act to foster good industrial relations in not only MAS but in the Country.
MASEU further believe if such practice is condoned or continued, it would encourage other categories of MAS graded employees to form another National Union in MAS, which would not be in the interest of MAS and its employees.
MASEU request that DG industrial Relations and DG Trade Union to take immediate action to accede to our request.
The reader further said, – MAS does not want to recognise NUFAM but was forced by DEP MOHR to bear all costs for NUFAM exercising secret ballots inside MAS so NUFAM can recruit MAS cabin crew as members. Current number NUFAM has is 58 only since the inception of nUFAM on 27th January 2012. Dep MOHR is the one responsible for approving NUFAM even though in-house union already existed for mas cabin crew. REPORTS to SPRM on NUFAM President for misused of fund already been lodged.
Why should there be two unions within one company? This matter was also highlighted by The Star here.