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The Clock Is Ticking For Malaysia Airlines’ Employees

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PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will know by June 10 how many of its employees have accepted the new terms and conditions of its re-employment and termination scheme.

Letters of employment and termination will be couriered to the workers’ residential addresses beginning May 27, and it is believed that the employees will have a week to accept the terms of employment with the airline.

One of the two letters will be for the termination of services at MAS.

The other letter can either be an offer letter to join MAS Bhd, or an invitation letter to report to the Corporate Development Centre (CDC), said a source.

Those asked to report to the CDC would mean they would be laid-off, as MAS intends to slash 6,000 of its 20,000 workforce.

The CDC has been set up to help train employees who have lost their jobs.

The Khazanah Nasional Bhd-led restructuring of MAS means a smaller airline with only 14,000 employees. Apart from job cuts and a smaller airline, 3,779 contracts have been renegotiated.

Before the letters can go out, an administrator will be appointed to manage the exit and re-employment matters.

PricewaterhouseCoopers tops the list of possible candidates. The short notice of whether to accept or reject the offer by MAS has caused some anxiety among employees of the airline.

“It is such a short period for us to decide when we do not know what the new terms and conditions would be and what the direction is going to be,’’ said a source.

Another source asked if “the employment conditions are better or worse than the current
terms”.

“We need to know the terms early, and is the short notice of just a week to decide fair to
us?’’

Some expected senior and experienced flight and ground crew members, including engineers, to leave the airline should the terms be not favourable.

Experienced staff are worried about pay cuts, reduction in benefits and an overload of work.

MAS chief executive officer Christoph Mueller, in his first email to over 20,000 employees last week, had pointed out that “we have benchmarked our current terms and conditions with those of our competitors and will come up with new contract conditions. Some will be below the current levels, but some others will have some improvements”.

Mueller is said to have met all of the airline’s union representatives on Wednesday, where they were told of “how grim the situation was at MAS”.

But the unions are hoping for details on the severance package and that MAS will honour the collective agreements.

On Wednesday, MAS announced the resignation of Dr Hugh Dunleavy, the director of commercial, effective  Aug 31. He had joined MAS in January 2012. A successor is being sought, but in the interim, Mueller  will take over the responsibilities as chief commercial officer from June 1.

Dunleavy is a major figure in MAS, as he is one of the 12 members of the core senior team that drives MAS and manages the network planning and pricing.

Mueller is also said to have presented his plans for the new airline to the board of MAS yesterday.

“The new MAS is likely to have fewer units and heads with few fancy titles. It may replicate the Aer Lingus organisational structure, which seems to be lean”, said a source.-NST

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