12th December 02:24 AM
AG meets with striking ATS employees who walked out of their workplace on Saturday
By Vijay Narayan and Semi Turaga
Monday 18/12/2017
Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum meets with the striking Air Terminal Services (Fiji) Limited employees who walked out of their workplace on Saturday [Photo: Fijian Government]

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has met with the Air Terminal Services (Fiji) Limited employees who walked out of their workplace on Saturday.

No resolution has been reached as yet after Sayed-Khaiyum’s discussion with the workers late last night.

Fijivillage has also received confirmation that Sayed-Khaiyum will have a meeting with all the airport stakeholders later this morning to look for ways to ensure that there are no disruptions to airport services.

Meanwhile, the strike by some Air Terminal Services (Fiji) Limited employees has been declared unlawful by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum meets with the striking ATS employees [Photo: Fijian Government]

A statement says this is in accordance with the Employment Relations Act 2007.

It says no supervised secret ballot was carried out prior to the initiation of the strike, as is required by the Act.

The statement further says the unlawful strike has occurred while a Settlement Agreement is already in place between the union and the employer.

It also says as a result of the Settlement Agreement, a notice of secret ballot for strike received by the Registrar of Trade Unions could not be processed.

The Ministry of Employment says the Employment Relations Act sets out a proven and effective framework for the resolution of any workplace concerns, and only within that framework can issues be effectively resolved.

It adds that by failing to operate within the framework, these employees have violated the law.

It further says to totally circumvent that process, especially in the midst of holiday travel, is a selfish act that was designed to confuse and inconvenience the travelling public, undermine the Fijian economy and create job loss.

The Ministry of Employment has been given assurance that Air Terminal Services Limited, Fiji Airways, the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji and Airports Fiji Limited are working closely together to ensure minimal to no disruption of services.

When questioned on the ATS strike by Fijivillage, Fiji Trades Union Congress General Secretary Felix Anthony claims that it is not a strike and the management of Air Terminal Services Limited has locked out its workers.

Felix Anthony

Anthony is also concerned about reports that some workers have been given suspension notices. 

About a hundred Air Terminal Services workers who were members of the Air Terminal Services Employee Trust attended a meeting on Saturday during their working hours.

This caused a disruption in-flight services.

They were then locked out by the ATS management after the meeting.

Upon employment, all employees are given the option of joining the Trust.

They each contribute $2,500.

The shares are held in the Trust until a member leaves the Company via retirement, resignation, termination or death.

At the end of each year, the Trust distributes to all its beneficiaries any dividend that is derived from ATS.

The Fijian Government holds 51% of ATS shares while ATS Employee Trust holds 49% of ATS shares.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum meets with the striking ATS employees [Photo: Fijian Government]

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