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The Air-Transport Executive Staff Union (AESU) was born on 4 January 1965 when 31 executive officers sought registration of what has been known as the Malaysian Airways Executive Officers’ Union. In its infancy it concluded a collective agreement with the Management of Malaysian Airways Limited.

On 1 April 1967, as a consequence of a change of name from Malaysian Airways to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, the Union was renamed the Malaysia-Singapore Airlines Executive Officers’ Union. Then in October 1972, when Malaysia-Singapore was divided with the consequential formation of Singapore Airlines, the Union underwent yet another name-change and become the Air-Transport Executive Staff Union, or AESU.

Numerous people were involved in the birth of the Union. Among the pioneers are people like Mr V V Singam, Mr Wong Kim Fong, Mr Peter Lian, Mr A C Leong, Mr Soon Kia Seng, Mr Jeffery Koh and Mr Lim Leng Chye who served on the protem committee of the Malaysian Airways Executive Officers’ Union.

Membership of the Union stood at a mere 70 in 1967 but grew steadily to 90 in April 1972. By the end of 1973, AESU enjoyed a modest membership of 120. This doubled to 240 in September 1976 and by December 1979 it grew to 360 representing 80% of confirmed staff in the Administrative Grade of the SIA Group of Companies. Today, the Union is proud to have represented the majority of the middle-management staff within the SIA Group of Companies.

AESU is amongst the earlier pioneers in the concept of unionization for middle-management executives. It is affiliated to the NTUC and is involved in all activities of trade union to obtain and maintain for its members, just and proper levels of wages and reasonable terms of employment.

Throughout its years of existence, the Union has striven to promote harmony and co-operative relationship not only between Union members and Management but also amongst members and other staff of the SIA Group of Companies. The Union through cordial but resolute negotiations has constantly worked for the general betterment of its membership. One significant aspect of the Union’s strength is its strong rapport with Management. This is to ensure that AESU will continue its role to provide the link between Management and employees in an era of tripartism so as to maintain industrial peace and harmony.

New milestones stand before AESU in the years ahead.

Globalization of businesses and free trade will continue to flourish in the years ahead. These pose great challenges to the labor movements as capital and skills move freely across geographical boundaries. To remain relevant, the Union will have to be pro-business in its continued effort to promote harmonious collaborative labor-management relationship to ensure that its corporate partners remain competitive.

As the world globalizes, more countries see the tremendous benefits and spin-off in the tourism sector. The more nimble ones quickly adopted less restrictive aviation policies, which led to the formation of many new airlines. Consequently, the air transportation industry undergoes structural changes as competition intensified causing business models and cost structure to come under close review.

These are challenging times ahead.

Members are fully aware that it is ineluctable that global economy, technology and values will continue to change. AESU’s pivotal role is to help members to adapt to these never-ending changes in order to remain employable.

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