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Fiji Airways Flying High

Fiji Airways has improved its share value under the Voreqe Bainimarama-led Government. Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, in response to a question, said the airline had come a long way
10 Dec 2014 09:40
Fiji Airways Flying High
From left: Opposition parliamentarians Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Mosese Bulitavu and Biman Prasad at Parliament yesterday. They walked out on Monday during the Budget debate. Photo: Josua Tuwere

Fiji Airways has improved its share value under the Voreqe Bainimarama-led Government.

Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, in response to a question, said the airline had come a long way since Qantas bought 46 per cent of the airline in 1998 but controlled much of its operations.

The question was posed by Opposition parliamentarian Semesa Karavaki, who asked for an update on the Qantas shareholding in Fiji Airways, formerly known as Air Pacific.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum reminded Parliament that when Qantas bought minority shares, 46 per cent in 1998, the Australian airline had veto powers in 19 areas of the airline operations.

This amount of influence and control was disproportionate to their stake in the airline, where the Fiji Government controlled 51 per cent. Some of the areas that Qantas had veto powers over included directors’ appointments, budgets, air service agreements and even the appointment of chairman and deputy chairman.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Fijian Government had addressed some of these issues in the Civil Aviation (Ownership and Control of National Airlines) Decree 2012. The decree ensured proportionate control of the airline by Qantas and other stakeholders including the Fiji Government.

Qantas still owns 46 per cent of Fiji Airways albeit with reduced operational control.

Labour laws to be reviewed

The National Federation Party’s Prem Singh asked, “Will the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree be reviewed, amended or repealed in conformity to International Labour Organisation’s Conventions that Fiji has ratified,?”

Labour Minister Jioji Konrote provided a comprehensive answer to the question.

“On November 12, 2014, a Fijian Government delegation attended the 32nd Session of the International Labour Organisation Governing Body Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

At the Governing Body Meeting, the Fijian Government undertook that we would, through frank and sincere tripartite dialogue in a spirit of genuine respect and good faith, progressively review all existing labour laws to ensure compability with the Constitution whilst at the same time ensuring that the economic well-being of Fiji continues to be protected and enhanced. We also stated that in reviewing the existing labour laws, the Fijian Government shall work closely with international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and shall invite the ILO to be part of the review process.

Mr Konrote did not give a timeframe for the review, but said they intended to start as soon as possible.

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 

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