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Ismail Nasaruddin, president of National Union for Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) has recently reported in Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that staff of troubled airline Eaglexpress Air “has yet to receive their salaries from January to June this year” despite its promises made in August. In fact, according to Malaysia Kini in August, NUFAM questioned authorities as to why the airline’s air operator certificate (AOC) has been renewed despite the financial woes.
Ismail further highlighted to FMT that “staff benefits such as the EPF and Socso had also remained unpaid since November 2015” in addition to the salaries. Expressing his concern over staff safety, he reiterated how “the EPF and Socso is supposed to be contributed by the company.”
He also claimed that most staff would need to “take forced leave/unpaid leave because the company won’t be paying basic salary from October 2016 onwards”, after instructions were given only via a verbal discussion.
Human Resources’ requests to Eaglexpress Air for comment have not been responded to at the time of publication.
According to an earlier report in June, a source had claimed 300 staff of the charter airline had not received their salaries and benefits.
A former employee of the airline company lamented that “banks are calling (me) to settle my debts and it is unfair for the company to put us through a situation like this” despite promises made to clear all backdated salaries, and now delayed till November. Making matters worse, he claimed to have been “retrenched with one month’s notice by Eaglexpress”, adding how it was unfair as it takes quite some time to be employed again in the airline industry.
Ismail voices out his opinion on how it is imperative to have adequate financial capacity to sustain workers’ salaries. He said, “if such companies don’t have the financial capacity, then why do the authorities still issue operating licenses to them?”
Founded in 2012, Eaglexpress is a charter operator carrying Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the haj and umrah.
Photo / 123RF