NFP President describes Fiji Airways demand as Kicking the workers again
October 13, 2021
Fiji Airways demand is unfair and unjust
“Victimisation and discriminatory behaviour” is how National Federation Party President Pio Tikoduadua has described the demand that former Fiji Airways workers give up their legal action against it if they want to be re-hired.
Mr Tikoduadua noted that as the airline prepares for resumption of flights after reopening of the borders, “Fiji Airways is starting up again as it left off – as the spiteful and ungrateful employer of the staff it dumped 16 months ago”.
“Even though Fiji Airways is once again recruiting employees, it has set a requirement that it will not take former staff, particularly cabin crew and flight attendants, unless they withdraw their claims against it,” he said.
“Let us remind the people of Fiji what Fiji Airways did”.
“For years it built its brand and business on the faces of its proudly Fijian cabin crew and the personal sacrifices of their families. Then suddenly nearly 800 of those same loyal Fijian employees were sacked overnight by expatriate managers who continue to be fully employed.
“Our Fijian tourism front liners were not paid redundancy compensation. They and their families were suddenly left with nothing to fall back on”.
“This act of ruthlessness happened just a few hours before Government got Parliament to guarantee $455 million in loans to Fiji Airways’ aircraft owners and lenders such as Asian Development Bank”.
“The Opposition asked that Fiji Airways use a small amount of these funds to give workers some relief. Reasonable compensation at a time when they needed the funds would have, at the most, cost $10 million”.
“More than 400 cabin crew and flight attendants then brought legal action against their former employer. Fiji Airways has deliberately stalled and tried to delay the progress of those legal actions”.
“Now, when it needs its staff back, Fiji Airways is forcing them to withdraw those legal actions before it will hire them.”
“So, Fiji Airways will turn away the hundreds of people it has trained, who are experienced and skilled at their work, but who just want their day in court over what happened to them, rather than be fair-minded or protective of their rights”.
“Having kicked the very people who built the airline once, Fiji Airways is kicking them and their families again.”
“The Government as 51% owner of the airline has made no attempt to stop this behaviour. No doubt it is encouraging it”.
“When NFP is elected into government, we will direct Fiji Airways to support the reinstatement as well as respect the proper process through the courts of these legal actions and compensation to affected staff”.
“This is not about politics. This is about respecting the rights of all citizens of Fiji to fair work practices and their rights to bring claims against the abusive actions of powerful employers”.