Opinion

$5.78m DIVIDEND PAYOUT Issue WON’T GO AWAY

The controversy over the unaccounted $5.78 million dividend payout for the Air Terminal Services employees through their trust will not go away. It will continue until the whole truth is
17 Jan 2018 10:25
$5.78m DIVIDEND PAYOUT Issue WON’T GO AWAY
Fiji Trades Union Congress general secretary Felix Anthony ( circled) in the march through Nadi town on January 13, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia.

The controversy over the unaccounted $5.78 million dividend payout for the Air Terminal Services employees through their trust will not go away.

It will continue until the whole truth is revealed.

Felix Anthony needs to know this after he tried to play down the importance of this issue yesterday.

The Fiji Trades Union Congress general secretary, still riding on a high after last Saturday’s Nadi march, said the debate over the unaccounted  money was silly, a waste of time, irrelevant and a distraction to the issues the striking workers were fighting for.

It’s totally the opposite, Mr Anthony. It is very much relevant to the workers’ interests. It is about the workers’ pay and working conditions.

This is money that should be going into the workers’ pockets. That is the reality and we cannot simply brush it aside as silly.

While the workers’ log of claims on their pay and work conditions is open for negotiation between their union and the ATS management, the dividend payout is set and it cannot be changed after it is determined.

I am talking about transparency, the need to disclose the details of what happened.

Vili Finau, the ATSET secretary, made a big sidestep better than the goose step by Fijian sevens rugby legend Waisale Serevi when he told a Fiji Sun reporter “you may or may not be aware that we have been ‘illegally locked out’ of our ‘office’ so it would be extremely difficult to facilitate you with a sound response right away.”

It is hard to believe that the workers can talk about their pay struggle since 2007, yet they and their trust cannot do the same with their dividend payment payout.

To lend credence to their battle for better pay and working conditions, they should talk about their status on the dividend payments they are owed openly. The two issues cannot be separated or isolated because they both affect the financial welfare of the workers.

The workers should keep pressing the trust to provide details of what happened to the dividend payout.

If they have the truth about what happened then we would like to hear about it. It will close the chapter on the controversy over the $5.78 million.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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