SUNBIZ

Calls For Long-Term Solutions To Long-Standing Problems

“MSAF offers band-aid solutions to this unending problem,” Mr Goundar said.
27 Jan 2020 11:50
Calls For Long-Term Solutions To Long-Standing Problems
Goundar Shipping Limited’s managing director George Goundar.

One of the leading inter-island shipping companies is calling for long term solutions to the reoccurring problem of suspension of services.

Goundar Shipping Limited’s managing director George Goundar is calling for state intervention into the long-standing problem of staff turnover.

It follows a group of his employers leaving the company to return to the Fiji National University’s Fiji Maritime Academy.

Prior to this, Mr Goundar dismissed a group of workers for disciplinary matters.

Yesterday, Mr Goundar called for an end to politics within the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji.

But in an earlier interview, MSAF acting chief executive officer Tomasi Kete said ships were often tied up around this time of the year because it was offseason.

Mr Kete also said it was the employees prerogative to choose the employer of their choice.

Mr Goundar said salary and wages were not the contentious issues.

“I pay my staff well.

“MSAF offers band-aid solutions to this unending problem,” Mr Goundar said.

This as five of his vessels remain tied up because of his claims over the shortage of manpower within the industry.

New vessels

Mr Goundar, who earlier this month announced the purchase of two more vessels to add to his fleet of nine ships, said he was not ready to throw in the towel.

He said he was losing millions a day in maintaining his fleet and workforce under the current constraints surrounding his business.

“When I don’t provide the service, people jump down my throat,” Mr Goundar said.
State’s response

But Minister responsible for shipping Jone Usamate said discussions are going on.

“We want to make sure that all of our ships travel and at the same time, we don’t want to cut off opportunities for locals that are looking for work and might have the qualifications as ship crew.

“We want to make sure that these ships continue to run and at the same time we don’t want to have a huge influx of people from other countries that limits opportunities for our locals,” said Mr Usamate.

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