Embrace cost cuts, Rafidah tells airline unions
KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Former international trade and industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz has asked Malaysian trade unions and workers to support any effort to make their companies more efficient instead of obstructing them.
“There is simply no room or time for any company to just have ‘business as usual’ attitude and allow excess baggage of the past to hamper the move forward to be more competitive,” she said.
Rafidah, credited internationally for bringing the cream of direct foreign investments to Malaysia, warned trade unions that the marketplace was becoming extremely competitive and even more so for this region with the arrival of the Asean Open Skies policy in 2015.
She was commenting on the eight-month share swap agreement between Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and budget airline AirAsia, which unravelled earlier this month following stiff opposition from MAS’s employees’ unions.
“Trade unions and employees should support any effort to make their company more efficient and not hamper and obstruct and politicise the issue,” said Rafidah, who is also chairman of AirAsia X, AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate.
She said it was also imperative for managements and unions to come to an agreement on how to move forward.
Rafidah then said: “Employees and unions must understand that the company is a business enterprise and have to show profitability to shareholders.
“Any cost savings and efficiencies derived from collaboration (among companies) can be passed on to passengers. And when a company makes profits, employees also eventually benefit,” she said of the collaboration between MAS, AirAsia and AirAsia X.
“As far as AirAsia X is concerned, we will continue to pursue collaborations that can result in lower costs and better efficiency, and which is not contravening any Anti-Trust laws in force. The share swap is a private arrangement, which has now been unwound,” she added.
Last week, former MAS managing director Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman also appealed to the airline’s unions to adopt a more patient attitude instead of taking rash actions over any move by MAS to turn around the ailing national carrier.
He said the airline’s 20,000 employees had to give full support to the management which had no choice but to come up with a new business model which in itself required changes to be made in the process. — Bernama