In addition to ordering the return of all workers, on 20 January the tribunal ordered that all pay and entitlements from the time of the lockout be restored. ATS management was given 48 hours to comply with the tribunal's decision.
Vilikesa Naulumatua, national secretary of the workers’ union, the Federated Airlines Staff Association (FASA), said: “In the end the truth will always prevail. Like Winston Churchill once said the truth is so precious that it should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
“The union and our members are thankful that this dispute shows that the Fijian courts are working and can see through these lies. This is a dispute that should have been resolved weeks ago.
“We fought this dispute on behalf of all the workers in Fiji who can’t stand up for themselves. We wanted to show them the power of standing strong in the face of attacks by management and the government. Our members are overwhelmed with emotion that justice has been delivered.
“We are thankful to the ITF for leading the global solidarity which drew international attention to the treatment of aviation workers in Fiji.”
ITF president Paddy Crumlin welcomed the ruling and said it demonstrated the power of global solidarity. But, he added, all eyes were now on ATS to comply and the Fijian government to ensure that justice is served and that all of the workers return to their rightful employment. He also paid respect to the ATS workers, FASA and the Fiji Trades Union Congress, and thanked everyone who backed them.