MAB fails to stop in-flight supervisors from voting to set up union

Malaysia Airlines Berhad took the position that flight supervisors are managers or executives.

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today refused leave to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) to challenge the human resources minister’s decision that in-flight supervisors could vote to establish a union.

A three-member bench, chaired by Nallini Pathmanathan, said MAB had failed to cross the threshold, as required under Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act for the merit of the case to be heard.

MAB had framed a single question of law to obtain leave.

Others on the bench were Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Rhodzariah Bujang.

National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) wanted in-flight supervisors to be included as cabin crew to obtain recognition from MAB.

This has to be done by way of a secret ballot but MAB opposed the move as it took the position that the supervisors were managers or executives.

Subsequently, the director-general of Industrial Relations prepared a report and on Feb 6, 2018, the then minister, Richard Riot, decided the supervisors were eligible to vote.

MAB filed a judicial review to challenge the minister’s decision but it was dismissed by the High Court and later affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

Lawyer Lim Wei Jiet represented Nufam, T Thavalingam and Rebecca DC Alfred appeared for MAB while senior federal counsel Nik Mohd Noor Nik Kar and Aisyaf Falina Abdullah represented the minister.

Nufam, in a statement, said the trade union recognition process can now proceed after a long vigorous stay order was imposed.

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