AirAsia X ordered to pay RM110,000 in retrenchment benefits to ex-technicians

The airline operator will be charged interest at 8% per annum if the payments to its former technicians are not made within 31 days of the Labour Court order.

PETALING JAYA: The Labour Court has ordered a commercial airline operator to pay close to RM110,000 in retrenchment benefits to two of its former aircraft technicians who were laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Manpower department director-general Nor Fathiyah Mohd Yassin in an April 2 order said AirAsia X Bhd is to pay Hasrulnizam Nopen RM51,391.44 and Ahmad Abu Bakar RM57,808.90 as termination benefits.

The defendant will be charged interest at 8% per annum if the payment is not made within 31 days of the order.

Hasrulnizam’s service was terminated on June 7, 2020, while Ahmad’s was terminated on Jan 20, 2021, as the planes were grounded due to the pandemic.

Their employer refused to pay retrenchment benefits because their monthly basic salaries and allowances were more than RM5,000.

The employer took the position that one is only entitled to compensation under the Employment (Termination and Lay-Off Benefit) Regulations 1980 if their monthly wage is RM2,000 and below.

Hasrulnizam and Ahmad had filed their complaints with the department in 2022.

Lawyer Premjit Singh, who represented the two men, said the court accepted that the claimants, being aircraft technicians, were entitled to retrenchment benefits as provided under the Employment Act and its regulations.

Premjit, who was assisted by Surekaa Santhiran, said the nature and scope of work entitled the duo to the payment of retrenchment benefits even though their wages and allowances were more than RM2,000 each.

“They were engaged in the operation or maintenance of mechanically propelled vehicles for the transport of goods or passengers,” he told FMT.

The company has filed an appeal at the High Court against the Labour Court’s decision.

Lawyers Wendy Lam and Wong Jia Ee appeared for AirAsia X.


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