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23 Apr 2018 9:56
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    NZ unions protest for Fijian workers

    Union members protested outside the Fiji High Commission in Wellington to support Fijian airline workers locked-out of work by their government.

    Kiwi unions have protested the Fijian Government's lock-out of 200 workers at the country's main airport.

    About 50 union members gathered outside the Fiji High Commission in Wellington on Friday to deliver a letter of support for ground handlers at Nadi airport locked-out of work.

    The workers, who include baggage handlers, check-in staff and engineers, raised concerns about sexual harassment and a 11-year pay freeze at a shareholders meeting on December 16.

    But when they arrived back at work afterwards, they had been locked out.

    The government-owned Airline Transport Service in Nadi is 49 per cent owned by workers of the company.

    Fiji Pro-Democracy Movement Wellington spokesman Sai Lealea said the families were struggling without pay for the last two and a half weeks, especially as school started back in Fiji on Wednesday.

    "These are workers who have families to feed, children to grow... They are not being paid so they've been relying on the generosity of friends and families and unions."

    Mr Lealea said it is likely the government won't budge on the situation as the chairman of the ATS Board is the Minister of Civil Aviation's younger brother and "he doesn't want his brother to look bad".

    "That's Fiji today, that is the reality."

    Council of Trade Unions secretary Sam Huggard said the protest was timed in order to show global support before the Fijian union rally in Nadi on Saturday.

    "They'll be feeling the pressure - it is pretty full-on when your employer locks you out. We want to support them both with our moral solidarity [and] we want to make sure we are using whatever methods we've got with the Fiji High Commissioner."

    Mr Huggard said a page was being set up to raise money for the locked out workers.


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