PETALING JAYA | The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) has slammed Malindo Air’s announcement of further retrenchments, stating that the government aid the ailing airline has received should have been enough to stave off more job cuts.

In an internal memo to the company’s staff sighted by FMT, Malindo Air chief executive Mushafiz Mustafa Bakri said there would be further retrenchments “within the next few days” in yet another cost-cutting exercise in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Mushafiz did not provide figures, it was previously reported that the company was looking to cut about 2,200 jobs out of its present workforce of 3,200.

“Isn’t the airline getting assistance from the government?” asked Nufam.

“Nufam was made aware that Socso had also paid Malindo close to RM3 million under the Employee Retention Programme (ERP),” Nufam said in a statement, adding that the airline should be able to retain most of its workers until the middle of next year.

“The Malindo Airways management appears to use the most drastic way to retrench their workers. However, is the airline insolvent or bankrupt already?

“There is a need to mitigate these issues first before the airline decides to let go these 2,000 workers.”

Pointing out that Malindo had already put many of its workers on long-term leave until next July, Nufam said that most of Malindo’s workers had not received their salaries since June.

In the memo, Mushafiz said the pandemic’s impact on the airline sector had had a “crippling effect” on Malindo’s revenue – which is currently only 10% of pre-pandemic numbers.

Noting that it had already implemented many “drastic steps” to curtail costs – such as reducing staff, suspending recruitments and ceasing allowances and other claims – Mushafiz said the efforts were insufficient to overcome the pandemic’s prolonged impact on the industry.

“Given the continuing nature of this crisis, we find that we must streamline our workforce to ensure sustainability of the company.

“Having exhausted all the initiatives above, we are left with no option but to carry out a retrenchment exercise,” Mushafiz said in his memo dated Oct 28.

“Within the next few days, human resources (HR) will notify the affected employees of the termination compensation benefits, including the company’s asset handover process.”

In April, Mushafiz said the airline had asked 70% of its staff to take no-pay leave. The following month, however, the company had reportedly offered its employees to take a voluntary long-term unpaid leave of one year.

In June, some 100 staff filed a representation with the Industrial Relations Department for unfair dismissal after claiming their contracts were prematurely terminated during the movement control order (MCO).

© FMT News