NEWS

Some ATS Workers Resume Work

A number of Air Terminal Services (ATS) workers who went on strike over the weekend have returned to work, joining colleagues who kept working. This was confirmed by ATS chairperson,
21 Dec 2017 11:22
Some ATS Workers Resume Work
Chairperson of ATS Employees Trust J D Singh was removed as an ATS Board alternate director because he was seeking the ATS Chief executive job.

A number of Air Terminal Services (ATS) workers who went on strike over the weekend have returned to work, joining colleagues who kept working. This was confirmed by ATS chairperson, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, during a press conference yesterday.

More are expected to return to their work stations today.

Of the 639 ATS employees, 300 were sitting outside the company gates. These include those who abandoned their positions on Saturday and those who later stayed out to support them.

Over 300 ATS employees remained at work, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“If it were not for the loyal ATS staff, working every day, working overtime and doing some remarkable work to keep our reputation open and our airport open as a tourism destination – we would not be in this situation, we would be in a lot of trouble,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“We are grateful to them. Because of this group’s efforts, there has been minimal disruption and we are pushing forward.”

Stakeholders have also pitched in to ensure Nadi International Airport was operational.

These include Fiji Airways – they have about 100 rostered staff- chefs from Hilton, Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji, Air New Zealand and Fiji National University.

“We thank all of them profusely for keeping our country at the top of their agenda – they are the ones who are keeping Fiji open to the world, with the help of loyal ATS staff,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

A permanent solution

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said some airlines were looking at a permanent solution for the services they required at the airport.

This would mean that ATS would lose some of the ground handling work they are currently doing.

“If we lose work with other players coming in, then we will eventually have to downsize and lose workers and that means people will lose their jobs,” he said.

“We want everyone back and we want normal operations at the ATS with the same work that we currently have so that we can continue with our operations and continue to do what ATS has done, with the same number of workers.”

Letter

After Air Terminal Services Employees Trust (ATSET) officials failed to draft a letter for workers on Sunday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they had taken the liberty to draft letters for those who wanted to return to work before Christmas.

“There are two versions – one for those who left their jobs and abandoned their positions on Saturday and the other, for those who joined later. We are even saying in the letter that they will not be terminated. I had said this during my discussions with the unions on Sunday, but they still did not take up the offer.”

Chair role

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also clarified his role as ATS chairperson despite a civil action by ATSET questioning its legality.

“I was called by ATSET Secretary Viliame Finau who wanted to talk but the first question I asked him, in what capacity are you talking to me – as a board member or as chairman of the board?”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they were puzzled at first but reaffirmed that he was the chair.

The Sunday meeting went ahead with Mr Sayed-Khaiyum recorded in the minutes as the chairperson of the ATS board.

A day later Mr Finau told Fiji Village that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was the “purported Chairman of ATS.”

“I don’t know whether Mr Finau knows the meaning of the word purported, it means ‘pretend or false’. I ask you, why would worker officials talk to a pretend chairman or talk to a false chairman – does that not make the talks irrelevant?”

Conflict of Interest

The strike had also brought to light a number of other issues within ATSET.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “The chairman of ATS Employees Trust who was nominated as an alternate board member, Mr J D Singh, he was removed because he had applied for the job of ATS chief executive officer, while sitting on the board.

“Just last week, Mr Singh was interviewed for the second time for the CEO position. There were two people shortlisted for CEO position and Mr Singh was one of them.

“And because of the fact that he did not recognise me as chair during our first meeting, I deliberately removed myself from the panel that interviewed Mr Singh.”

Social media circus

In response to social media critics writing from Australia and New Zealand, including Shailendra Raju, Rajendra Chaudhry and writing under fake profiles, the ATS chairperson labelled them as ‘childish, silly and dim-witted imbeciles’.

“They are desperate for attention, so their hate for Fiji is so great that their lies are becoming more fantastic on a daily basis and right now they are so fantastic, they could get awards for writing the best fairytales,” he said

“Deliberately distorting the truth for their own political gain, they don’t care at all about our country.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj



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