Malaysia Airlines Accused of Firing “Overweight” Flight Attendants

22nd Sep 2017

According to the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has sacked several of its flight attendants for allegedly “being overweight. NUFAM President Ismail Nasaruddin said that the airline fired five flight attendants already and that 20 more are probably awaiting the same fate. Of the five attendants that were fired in the “first wave of termination”, three were men and two were women. All are over 50 years old and all served the airline for over 20 years before being terminated.

Mr. Ismail said:

This is a classic case of discrimination which needs to be stopped. It is unfair and cruel to the cabin crew.

The notices about their weight had been sent to the flight attendants before they were being terminated, but according to Mr. Ismail, their contracts never included a clause that would allow the airline to fire them for their weight.

This was only included in their policy, which has never been acknowledged.

Ismail also added that the Employment Act the workers have signed with the company does not give MAS permission to terminate its staff for this reason.

This is the same as sacking any female workers for being sick or pregnant. It is unacceptable.

On Thursday, during a press conference, NUFAM held a conference, showing a copy of the letter of termination to the press.

According to the letter that Mr. Ismail read, the recipient had “continuously failed to achieve their ideal weight as per the company’s grooming manual”, despite being on the company’s weight management programme for the past 18 months. The letter also specified that the ideal weight for crew members was 89kg and for cabin crew 67kg.

Mr Ismail also added that the airline should give the recipients enough time before sacking them:

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.

In a statement, MAS said:

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.

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