Emergency FTUC National Council meeting on ATS employees lock-out

Outcome of the Fiji Trades Union Congress Emergency Meeting on Saturday 30th December, 2017 at Capricorn International Hotel, Nadi

The FTUC  Councillors met and  resolved as follows:


RECALLS:         That ATS (Fiji) Limited was formed with the initiative of ATS staff of the company who were members of the Federated Airline Staff Association (FASA) and under the umbrella of the Air Terminal Services Employees’ Trust in 1981 at Nadi Airport.


SUPPORTS:      The principles of industrial democracy and worker participation in the decision-making process and equity holding within enterprises as was practiced at ATS and which were at one time the hall marks of peace, harmony and stability for workers.

NOTES           With shock and utter dismay the reports of financial mismanagement within the company and serious concerns raised by the Employees’ Trust who are 49% shareholders and who have been penalized by the recent lockout for holding an emergency shareholders meeting and for questioning the accountability and transparency in the management of its assets and resources.


CONDEMNS:   The actions of the Chairman of the ATS Board and its Acting CEO with the overt support of the government for locking out members of FASA and ATSET on 16th December, 2017 who attended the Employees’ Trust meeting.  We call for the immediate sacking of the two perpetrators so that workers can return to their jobs. The delay in settlement is due to the arrogance of ATS Chairman Riyaz Khaiyum who is blocking progress to any speedy solution, since he is the one bent on seeking apologies from the FASA members so that he is able to  bask in his inflated ego.

CALLS ON    The ATS Board Chairman and the government appointed Board of Directors, and the Minister for Public Enterprises, as the line Minister in this case, who is also the brother of the Board Chairman Riyaz Khaiyum relating to their fiduciary duties and responsibilities under the relevant legislations and calls on each of them to wake up from their deep slumber and to resolve the injustices perpetrated against the FASA members, rather than blindly pre-occupying themselves with massaging the giant size ego of the ATS Chairman.

EXHORTS:        The Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations to resign from his portfolio immediately for failing to apply fairly and without bias relevant rules, procedures, regulations truthfully under the ERA and as a result of this FASA members are without job for the past fifteen days during this festive season.  This is the Minister who declares the Lockout as illegal strike and then calls on his mediation service staff to mediate in his own created mess and purports to find a solution to the dispute. Either the Minister has a total lack of knowledge on ERA or he has been directed to weaken FASA as a Union and ATSET members as 49% shareholders so that ATS Chairman and his cohorts are able to sell the workers share for profiteering by a private company who has been eying for a lucrative enterprise in order to add to their growing portfolios.

EXPRESSES:     Its profound anger and apprehension that ATS Chairman and the Acting CEO have resorted to union busting tactics to cover up their inefficiency, indifference, biased practices and continued to look away from the sheer lethargy of the Management, as such the financial mismanagement, industrial disharmony, discord and denial of rights and dignity of workers resulting in chaos since Riyaz Khaiyum was appointed as the Chairman of ATS by his Minister brother.

REITERATES:   That workers have rights to work with dignity, justice and without any fear or oppression which is enshrined in the 2013 Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

REMINDS      The regulatory authorities such as CAAF and AFL to investigate the breaches of safety standards which has been happening on a daily basis from 16th December 2017. CAAF as a regulator has not only turned a blind eye to the safety breaches but has covertly supported the ATS management to prolong the lockout. Since the AFL security staff and others have been deployed to assist in baggage handling which has left the Airside unattended that allowed the members of the public to roam around the restricted areas of Nadi Airport. Photographs are available for those interested to see the evidence.

WARNS          The Minster for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations to refrain from siding and supporting the ATS Board Chairman for his own political survival as the FTUC along with its affiliates will take all necessary action at any cost to defend and protect the rights of FASA members.

SOLIDARITY   That FTUC will continue to support FASA as its affiliate, and to be the voice of the workers and will seek assistance through international ties and;

  1. Take all legitimate steps, use all resources, including industrial action and solidarity support including a National Strike, should the impasse continue and a protest March on Saturday 13th of January, 2018 in support of workers locked out.
  2. Pledge full support to fight injustice inflicted on FASA members.
  3. Seek the assistance of Global Union Federations and international solidarity organizations.


CONDEMNING: The government for its continued anti-labour stance in its support to further deprive workers of their rights and it must now immediately order the ATS management to desist from recruiting temporary staff as it is in total breach of the ATS/FASA Master Collective Agreement.

REQUESTS:      The relevant Government Ministers in charge to deal swiftly, with the plight of FASA members so that they can immediately return to work with dignity and punish those responsible for creating the total mismanagement of assets and resources and also to those engaged in behind the scenes activities to illegally sell the workers 49% shareholding.

LOOKS   FORWARD:      To continued success and progress of ATS (Fiji) Ltd so that its employees’ who are also shareholders serve the company, the nation and the vast travelling public with the same vigour and dedication as performed in the past, and be an exemplary model and motivation for other workers.


Felix Anthony

National Secretary

Global campaign for ATS locked -out workers underway

International solidarity action has  in process now and here’s the link to support the locked out workers at the ATS.
Please kindly take a minute  to :
1. Sign the campaign – you will receive an email to confirm that you have done so.
2. Share  on your facebook link via the Fiji Trades Union Congress facebook page.
3. Email this email to your network, friends, families and members.
Your  attention and action to this request is highly appreciated.
This is a global campaign and you may share and inform your international counterparts as well.
In solidarity ,

Support continues to pour in for the locked out ATS Employees

FTUC NS speaks with locked out workers of ATS at their picket site in Nadi.

As day 5  of the lockout continues,  support from local and international organizations and well-wishers continue to pour in at the  picket site.   Members of the general public are also showing their support to the cause and  bringing food and refreshments for the employees at the picket site.

As shareholders of 49 percent of the company, the workers, who are also members of the Federated Airline Staff Association (FASA) attended a beneficiaries meeting at Waimalika, Nadi, on Saturday (16/12/17) regarding serious breaches and ongoing issues with Management.

The workers were then locked out after attempting to return to their workplace after this shareholders meeting. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/346423/fiji-union-leader-says-workers-locked-out

This action was a shareholders meeting, attended by workers. Since meeting with Executives of FASA, the ATS Board have stated they will allow the workers back into the work premises provided they accept the conditions set out by the Board, whereby the workers are to sign a letter admitting they had wrongfully walked off their job to attend the meeting, which Government is now stating was a strike.   http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/57826/ats-staff-told-to-give-written-explanations-of-illegal-walkout-

To-date, the workers have confirmed they will not accept the conditions set out by Management and maintained that they were locked out on Saturday. The workers will only return to work without any conditions. http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=427915

The FTUC  is supporting its Affiliate, FASA, in its negotiations with the ATS Board & Management in response to the lockout initiated by the Employer.

For the latest update, please click on this link:   http://fijivillage.com/news-feature/End-of-day-4-Still-no-confirmation-on-whether-ATS-workers-will-return-to-work-9ksr25/

Watch this space for further updates.

In Solidarity,




FTUC voices concern on role of FNPF

PRESS RELEASE BY FTUC National Secretary Mr Felix Anthony on  the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF)

The Fiji National Provident Fund was formed to ensure that workers in Fiji had a decent life at retirement. In fact, the mission statement has been amended to read “Secure members future by growing the retirement funds” and “Offer sustainable returns for a meaningful retirement”.

In fact, one must ask what this means in reality. The reality is this. As at the end of the 2016 financial year, the Fund had a total of 406,065 members. Of this, 75% or 304,548 have balances less than $10,000. A further 21% or 85,274 have balances less than $50,000 and only 4% or 16,242 have balances above $50,000. This is definitely not a good picture to see. We are further told that in cyclone Winston, members were allowed to withdraw $275.5m. This was despite all the financial and other assistance that Government received for Cyclone Winston. We question Government as to why it should rely on Workers retirement fund to mitigate the effects of a cyclone rather than carry out its responsibility as Government. Last year, members withdrew 114.6m for education, medical, unemployment, funerals and death assistance. This brings the total withdrawal for survival to 389.6m or 69% of the total withdrawals. This is a matter of great concern particularly when Government boast of free education, improved medical care, creating employment and assisting people during Cyclone Winston. There is a clear disconnect with Governments actions and the reality on the ground.

The FNPF is to provide a secure and meaningful retirement. Yet, when one looks at its pension scheme, this reveals anything but secure or meaningful retirement. A worker with a $10,000 saving would be entitled to an 8.7% pension annually. This means $870 annually or $72.50 a month or $18.12 a week. This scheme condemns the worker and his family to extreme poverty and in fact into the category of a destitute. We have currently 304,548 members who would fall within this category if they were to retire with less than $10,000. The current pension scheme therefore is not an option for these workers. We have therefore witnessed full withdrawals.

Those who have more than $10,000 and less than $50,000 comprise of 21% of members currently. If we were to take an average of $30,000, these workers would be entitled to a pension of $2610 annually or $217.50 per month or $54.37 per week. Even if we were to calculate at $50,000, the weekly entitlement would be $90.62 a week. So we have a pension scheme that would put 96% of the workers and their families with their current balances well into poverty and we call this meaningful retirement? Only 4% of workers have balances above $50,000.

The FTUC is alarmed by these statistics and questions whether FNPF has forgotten their primary purpose which is to ensure a secure and decent retirement for its members. These statistics only show that the FNPF works for the privileged 4% of its members. Similarly, interest declared appears to be great but its only good for those on the top of the ladder. We are assured by FNPF that the situation will improve in 10 to 15 years which is a very long time and we will continue to have workers retiring into poverty during this period.

It is for these very reasons that FTUC has been advocating and campaigning for a decent minimum wage which would also convert to greater savings for workers. It is for this reason that FTUC advocated for a pension scheme that would recognize the plight of 96% of the members of FNPF and have a pension scheme that would give meaning to a decent retirement for low wage earners. This may require a greater percentage of pension payment to lower paid workers while those at the top would be entitled to a lower percentage. The Fund has to have a social conscience as well.

The Statistics also reveal the long standing concern amongst workers and Unions. Clearly the rich are getting richer while the poor are condemned to extreme poverty. The gap between the rich and poor in Fiji is widening and the Government is blind to this fact. This is further compounded by the fact that government has imposed fixed term contracts causing job insecurity, hardship in securing bank loans for housing, education, medical treatment and other emergencies. The FTUC is increasingly concerned at the wastage of financial resources this Government has become known for and the lack of transparency and accountability. The practice of handouts prevalent does not encourage proper financial management and in fact promotes abuse. FNPF needs not only to claim prudent management but be transparent. There is continuing doubt on Government borrowings from FNPF which has remained a State Secret. Members have a right to know.

FTUC calls upon FNPF to review its pension scheme to make it a real option for all members and not just few. Government needs to get out of the pocket of businesses and do what is right for the majority of workers. A decent minimum wage will be a good start.

Felix Anthony
National Secretary