Paddy Crumlin, president of the ITF, appealed to the Fijian Government to intervene and protect workers, including those from the from ITF affiliated union the Federated Airline Staff Association (FASA): “It’s not good enough for Fiji to present itself as a great destination for families, and to have the holiday of a lifetime, when workers are continuing to be attacked and decent working conditions are continuing to be removed in this essential service industry to Fiji’s tourism economy.”
Ground crew at Nadi International Airport - including baggage handlers, check-in staff, engineers and caterers - have been locked out after attending an urgent meeting over concerns of mismanagement, appalling conditions, sexual harassment and an 11-year pay freeze.
Paddy Crumlin challenged the Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama: “If you want a long-term future, and a long-term relationship with employees, aviation workers, and transport workers all over the world, give these people a fair go at Christmas. Show real political leadership, show that you’re part of the solution and not part of the problem.
“You’ll find out that tourism, and the Fijian economy, will run much better with the workers included, rather than excluded like they are today in Nadi.”
This dispute is already affecting operations, with the Transport Workers Union of Australia confirming reports that airline passengers are being asked to bring their own food on board, and warning travellers to be aware of the lock-out before booking flights to or accommodation in Fiji.
Mr Crumlin concluded: “To all of the families and tourists going to Fiji, if I was you I’d wear your bathers, bikinis and budgie smugglers under your clothese because you might not get your baggage at the other end.
“The ITF, on behalf of our affiliate FASA and their members at ATS, will be working hard for a solution.
“We call on the Fijian Government to step in and resolve this dispute, end the lock-out, allow these workers to return to work, and ensure that this dispute doesn’t disrupt the travel plans of thousands of visitors to Fiji over the Christmas holiday period.”
For more information Luke Menzies, ITF Asia Pacific firstname.lastname@example.org | +61 433 889 844