Malaysia Airlines accused of sacking overweight flight attendants

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) has been accused of sacking several flight attendants for being overweight.
The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) today claimed that a ‘first wave’ of termination has already seen five flight attendants – three men and two women, all above 50 – sacked for being overweight.
Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin claimed that 20 more cabin crew members are expected to be sacked.
This, claimed Ismail, was despite the crew having served the airline for more than 20 years.
“This is a classic case of discrimination which needs to be stopped. It is unfair and cruel to the cabin crew,” he told the New Straits Times.
He said the Employment Act does not allow for the termination of staff under such reasoning.
“This is the same as sacking any female workers for being sick or pregnant. It is unacceptable,” he said.
Ismail, while admitting that notices (on their weight status) were sent to the affected workers prior to termination, claimed that such clauses were never included in the workers’ contracts.
“This was only included in their policy, which has never been acknowledged,” he claimed.
Nufam earlier today held a press conference, where a copy of the termination letter was shown to the media.
Ismail said the letter, issued on Sept 14, stated that the recipient had “continuously failed to achieve their ideal weight as per the company’s grooming manual,” despite being on the weight management programme for 18 months.
According to the letter, the ideal weight listed by the airline for the cabin crew concerned is 67kg, while the weight of the crew member was 89kg.
The letter, he said, had also stated that the airline would compensate the recipients according to their contract.
Ismail said MAB should give ample time before terminating the cabin crew’s services.
“We are not taking this matter lightly and will proceed with legal action if this situation remains unchanged. I hope the Transport Ministry and Human Resources Ministry will help to look into this matter and find an amicable and fair solution,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines last night, when asked for comment on the matter, stated that it will not discuss issues involving its employees publicly.
“Malaysia Airlines wishes to state that any issue involving its staff remains an internal matter and will not be discussed publicly.
“All internal processes were followed before we arrived at the decision,” the airline said in a statement.
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