Malaysia: High Court dismisses Malaysia Airline case vs. union leader; rules that public statements about workers' rights are protected

Author: V Anbalagan, FreeMalaysia Today, Published on: 8 September 2019

"Landmark High Court decision against Malaysia Airlines empowers union leaders," 04 September 2019

 The High Court here has ruled that it is unlawful for Malaysia Airline System Bhd (MAS) to dismiss a trade union leader for issuing a press statement to highlight the plight of workers and to call for the CEO’s resignation.

Judge Nordin Hassan said it was also disproportionate for MAS to dismiss Ismail Nasaruddin, who was president of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), for giving the interview in the course of trade union activities.

“The real reason for MAS’ dismissal of Ismail was his participation in trade union activities, which is prohibited under the law,” he said in allowing a judicial review application by Ismail.

In 2013, Ismail gave an interview to The Sun Daily to highlight the concerns of workers in relation to claims of overwork, underpayment of salaries, health and safety issues due to MAS’ fleet realignment exercise and weight loss exercise.

MAS found this to be in breach of Ismail’s duties in the company and dismissed him.

Lim said this was a landmark case because it was the first time the High Court had decided that it was unlawful for a company to dismiss a trade union leader for issuing press statements in the course of carrying out his union work.

 

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Related companies: Malaysia Airlines