Malindo Air staff strike at KLIA over pay dispute

PETALING JAYA - Tempers flared at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) when disgruntled baggage handlers were accused of refusing to unload luggage from a Malindo Air flight from New Dehli.

Mas Zuhairin Zubir, who was among those affected, said passengers had to wait almost three hours for their luggage before they could leave the airport.

"The flight arrived on schedule at 6.15am but I only got my bags at 9.07am," said the training and development manager.

Mas, 38, said they were left stranded without any assistance from the Malindo Air management. She added that it was Malaysian Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) security personnel and staff who eventually attended to the fuming passengers.

Roziah Samsuddin, who hurt her back while in India, said she waited in vain on the plane for 45 minutes for ground staff to bring a wheelchair. The 56-year-old housewife, whose husband had disembarked earlier to get their baggage, said she had to painfully walk out of the aircraft unaided.

Roziah said she finally found a wheelchair outside the Malaysian Airlines special assistance room.

She added that an MAHB officer led passengers to KLIA's departure hall to meet Malindo staff at their check-in counters but they were oblivious to their plight.

Roziah said that only after a long wait were they told to go back down to get their bags from baggage collection.

Malindo Air public relations and communications director Raja Sa'adi Raja Amrin said the incident was due to a pay dispute the airline had with their baggage handlers.

He said they had wanted a pay revision, which was only brought to the attention of the airline's management on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, Malindo's New Dehli flight was first to arrive and was affected by the actions of the baggage handlers," he said.

Raja Amrin said the issue had been resolved and everything was back to normal.

He added that Malindo Air personnel were on hand and had worked with MAHB staff to attend to the affected passengers.