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EDITORIAL: Solve The ATS Strike The Legal Way. It Is The Only Way Ahead

EDITORIAL: Solve The ATS Strike The Legal Way. It Is The Only Way Ahead
Minister of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate
January 04
13:52 2018

This is the third week of the strike by workers of Air Terminal Services (ATS) in Nadi.

And, despite the exhaustive efforts by the Ministry of Employment to mediate between ATS and the ATS employees, no resolution has been reached.

A statement yesterday from the Minister of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate said:

“Ample opportunity has been provided to resolve grievances and discuss a positive way forward between ATS and the Federated Airlines Staff Association.

“However, after two weeks of informal mediation, no resolution has been accepted by the parties.

“As an employer, ATS management instituted internal disciplinary measures by suspending ATS employees who participated in the unlawful strike.

“Given the non-resolution, the ATS employees who walked off their jobs will remain suspended.”

The statement said the walk off by some ATS employees was declared as an unlawful strike on 16 December in accordance with the Employment Relations Act (ERA) 2007.

In the interest of resolving outstanding issues as quickly and effectively as possible, the Minister for Employment has encouraged ATS management and the Federated Airlines Staff Association to engage in good faith within established conflict resolution frameworks, as set out in the ERA 2007.

Some of the workers have returned to work, joining those who did not walk out. The rest are listening to unionists and politicians, who according to the Government are not well-versed with the legislation concerning unionised workers in the country.

Striking workers are not being paid and their families and dependants are suffering.

The new school year begins on January 15.

By continual participation in the strike, parents are depriving their innocent children of the financial support they deserve.

Some unionists and politicians are using the workers for their political mileage.

They are ignoring Government’s instructions for the workers to return to work.

It is time the workers return to work.

They should then select their representatives to meet with the management and hopefully address their concerns. Or, take the offer made by the ministry to resolve their concerns using the ERA 2007.

The unionists and the politicians who are supporting them will not resolve their concerns.

It is high time these unionists and politicians refrain from being involved in the dispute. They are not paying the wages of those on strike.

Where were these politicians and unionists in the years when there was a need to resolve any issues which workers claim gave rise to the illegal strike?

The way forward for the workers is to return to work and make full use of the provisions of the ERA 2007.  


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