“They must be reinstated without delay on the same terms and conditions they enjoyed prior to termination ” – Anthony on Fiji Airways workers

  • March 3, 2023

10:15am Friday 3rd March 2023
National Secretary responds to Fiji Sun’s queries on Fiji Airways recruitment expos:

FIJI SUN: Fiji Airways is currently having a career expo where key speakers are providing insights into what it’s like to be part of the national airline and work alongside leaders in Fiji’s aviation industry. Today is for the cabin crew. I understand that the expo is also open to all former employees of Fiji Airways and Fiji Link. With this being said, kindly requesting for you to answer the following questions:
1. Do you think that priority should be given to former Fiji Airways staff?

FELIX ANTHONY:  I do not believe priority should be given to former Fiji Airways staff who were terminated summarily. They must be reinstated without delay on the same terms and conditions they enjoyed prior to termination with of course cost of living adjustments. Management has been dragging their feet despite Governments clear directive. Clearly it has become very difficult for the Management of Fiji Airways to eat humble pie and do the right thing. This is one Company that tarnishes the reputation of employers in this country. They attempted to take advantage of the pandemic and crush the Union and throw its Collective Agreement out the window and then hire new recruits at far inferior terms and conditions. In the process it borrowed from the FNPF, the workers fund. All this while its Management enjoy exorbitant salaries and continue to do so.

2. Do you think it’s cheaper to hire former cabin crew as they will not need to take the whole training process?
FELIX ANTHONY:  The former cabin crew are experienced and have many years of service. This was not a consideration of the Fiji Airways Management. Their idea was to exploit younger crew with fixed term contracts and no union Collective Agreement. This gave Management the flexibility to hire and fire workers and to unilaterally impose terms and conditions of work. No one flies Fiji Airways because they have a younger and more beautiful crew. People fly the airline because it is safe and others because it is convenient and lack of alternatives.

3. Do you think expos necessary?
FELIX ANTHONY:  Expos are a public relations exercise. This has become necessary because Management finds itself in a dilemma over the reinstatement of workers they so heartlessly terminated. Many through text messages and emails without notice. This expo is to glamourize the Airline and the aviation industry but behind this façade is the total crude violation of workers fundamental rights and the suffering of hundreds of families that were left without food on the table by the airline. I do not believe that the current Management of the airline has quite digested the suffering that workers were subjected to by their decision. The EXPO should be a reminder of that suffering that continues today.

4. Should former staff go through the whole process again to get their jobs back?
FELIX ANTHONY: The workers who were terminated must be reinstated. We understand that this is a difficult exercise but the simple answer is that those that create the problem are the ones primarily responsible to resolve them. Management of Fiji Airways has brought this upon themselves. They now cannot demand for understanding. They must take full responsibility for the situation they find themselves in. Get the workers back to work.

I hope I have answered your questions and I look forward to accurate reporting.
Felix Anthony
National Secretary – FTUC



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