Thursday, September 8, 2011

MAS Staff against move to form new airlines

The share swap deal between Malaysia Airlines, MAS and Air Asia, does not go down well with MAS employees.

Malaysian Airline System Bhd unions may protest the carrier’s planned share-swap with rival AirAsia Bhd, said Alias Aziz, president of the Malaysia Airlines Employees’ Union or MASEU.

“We are not happy,” Alias said in a telephone interview with Malaysian newspaper The Star.

“We will wait for the Malaysian Air management to respond to our concerns. Failing which, we will hold our picket in November (2011).”

Three unions, representing 15,000 workers, may take part in the protest, the Star newspaper reported online on Thursday, 8th September 2011.

Meanwhile the three workers’ unions within Malaysia Airlines also claimed that over 80% of MAS staff will move over to the new airline Sapphire that is to be set up under the new MAS-AirAsia deal.

Malaysian Airlines System Employees’ Union (Maseu) is worried that the move could affect the strength of the unions within the national carrier.

It was reported that Sapphire would take over regional jet operations from MAS and Firefly.

“The affected staff could lose their seniority as well as other benefits tied to their length of service with MAS. Maseu will also be weakened by this transfer,” Ab Malek told a press conference yesterday.

He said there was no need for another airline as MAS could have two sections taking care of international and domestic flights.

“MAS is the oldest airline in Malay­sia. There is no reason for not making a lasting profit,” Ab Malek said, adding that the Government should revamp the entire management.

Maseu, Airline Workers Union of Sarawak and Air Transport Workers Union of Sabah announced that they would picket if Sapphire was established.

Meanwhile Bernama reported that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has expressed disappointment with regard to various news reports on the threatened industrial action from the MAS Graded Tripartite.

The tripartite, comprising Malaysia Airlines System Employees Union of Peninsular Malaysia (MASEU), Air Workers Union Sarawak (AWUS) and Air Transport Workers Union Sabah (ATWUS), have been engaged on several occasions relating to the Comprehensive Collaboration Framework (CCF).

"MAS would like to clarify that it is not in a trade dispute in relation to the CCF and deems the CCF as a management, board and shareholder matter which is done in the best interests of the company.

"Nonetheless, MAS has always placed the employees’ interests at the forefront of all business decisions," said the national carrier in a statement.

The national carrier said it had and would continue to constantly engage the unions.

MAS also said the management was currently working tirelessly towards firming up the details of the collaboration and would announce them officially, subject to regulatory approvals, at the appropriate time.

On 9th August 2011, MAS and AirAsia Bhd inked a historic and landmark share swap deal to reshape the Malaysian aviation industry.

By co-operating to leverage on their core strengths and expertise, the two carriers plan to lower competition and cut costs in the areas of aircraft purchases, engineering, ground support services, cargo services, catering and training.

As part of the deal, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, the Group CEO of Air Asia and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Deputy CEO of AirAsia was appointed as non-independent non-executive directors of MAS, effective August 11, 2011.

Their company, Tune Air Sdn Bhd, via a share swap, took a 20.5% equity stake in MAS.

In turn, MAS' parent, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, took up a 10% stake in AirAsia and MAS director Datuk Azman Yahya joins the AirAsia board.

Khazanah remains the major shareholder in MAS with a 49% stake. The deal is said to be valued close to RM 2 billion based on current shares closing, with MAS closing at RM1.60 a share and AirAsia at RM3.95 per share.

Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar denied that the deal was a bailout of MAS.

MAS reported a pre-tax loss of RM238 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011 compared with RM320 million in pre-tax profit recorded in the same quarter last year, 2010. Revenue stood at RM3.19 billion, down from RM3.3 billion, registered previously.

Meanwhile AirAsia's net profit declined 23% to RM171.93 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011 from RM 224.11 million posted in the same quarter last year, 2010, mainly due to lower unrealised foreign exchange gains.

However, the airline recorded a revenue growth of 21% to RM 1.05 billion compared with RM870.61 million posted in the same quarter previously due to a 17% increase in passenger volume and higher ancillary income per passenger which rose year-on-year (yoy) by 31% to RM50 from RM38.

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