Fijian aviation workers backed by Australian unions

Australian unions will protest on 18 January in support of 220 Fijian aviation ground handlers who have been locked out of work since 16 December 2017 by government-owned Air Terminal Services.

The rally, organised by ITF Asia Pacific and the Transport Workers Union in Australia, will take place outside the Fiji consular-general’s office in Sydney on Thursday, 18 January at 11am local time, as global union support for the ATS workers and their union, the Federated Airline Staff Association (FASA), continues to grow.

The workers – baggage handlers, check-in staff, engineers and caterers employed at Nadi International Airport – own 49 percent of the company through an employees’ trust. They were locked out after attending an urgent shareholder meeting over mismanagement and appalling conditions at the company, including sexual harassment and an 11-year pay freeze.

FASA national secretary Vilikesa Naulumatua said: “Our demands are clear – the return to work of all workers with no conditions, no victimisation and no loss of pay for the duration of the dispute, our cost of living adjustment applied and an agreed timeline to resolve all other issues.

“We need an urgent resolution. It is within the government’s power to resolve this dispute. We’re concerned by the minister’s delay in declaring the lockout illegal, and as shareholders, we’re concerned that the government has shown us no respect or recognition.”

ITF president Paddy Crumlin commented that the company had failed to respond adequately to union efforts to end the dispute and that the ITF family was firmly behind the workers and would continue to keep up the pressure on the Fijian government to act urgently.

On 12 January, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and Unions Wellington protested outside the Fiji High Commission in Wellington, ahead of a 2,500-strong march in Nadi on 13 January.

Add your voice to the more than 7,500 people who have already supported the LabourStart campaign.

Read more about the lock-out - by the Fiji Trades Union Congress or Radio New Zealand.

In December 2017, the ITF condemned the lockout and warned tourists of its impact.

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