The FTUC condemns the decision of the Board of Air Terminal Services to terminate ALL its employees simply because its claims not to be able to fulfil its contract with workers. This is nothing but a mere excuse to do as Fiji Airways has done some weeks ago.
A copycat termination of workers is a concern of the fact that both these organizations are majority owned by government who has endorsed this termination to take place. The difference with ATS is that it is 49% owned by the workers who are being terminated. There has been no consultation with the Association despite the union making proposals for workers to continue to be on leave without pay.
The Association even offered that workers were prepared to work for free until the situation improves. Management has rejected this proposal and claims that the contracts cannot be fulfilled. This is a management that intentionally wishes to be in a difficult position so that they have an excuse to terminate workers. In these difficult times when ATS workers are on leave without pay, the Acting CEO gets a brand-new Prado bought by ATS. How does this add up?
We have a government that has been simply giving lip service to workers in this country and if workers exercise their rights, they send in the police as their personal security force. The PM pledges that the government is here in these uncertain times and has urged employers not to terminate workers where it can be avoided yet endorses these terminations.
It is time that this government tell the workers what it intends to do to assist these workers and get down to doing it. We call the government to explain its position in the termination of workers at Fiji Airways and now at ATS. The government needs to explain why it does not wish to deal with workers representatives on the Board of ATS and simply steamroll decisions without regard to the fact that workers are part owners of the company.
A clear demonstration of not understanding the workers participation scheme on which ATS is built upon but a preference to behave in a dictatorial manner. This is the norm in every deal or partnership this government has entered. We have Fiji Airways, the University, Water Authority of Fiji and Air Terminal Services, and in all our tripartite structures which are clear demonstrations of a dictatorial approach and a desire to power grab. Where is the democracy that we talk about?
The FTUC calls upon the government to respect these partnerships and engage with the workers representatives in a sincere effort to resolve the current impasse at Air Terminal Services and every other place it has messed up to lessen the burden on workers. Never have we had such an autocratic government in Fiji’s history, and we refuse to accept such a government that is so insensitive to the struggles of the workers and the poor.
We need answers and the government must explain to the people why they are so quiet about these terminations.
Please click on this link: PRESS RELEASE – COPYCAT TERMINATIONS to view in pdf.