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Fiji Time: 10:47 AM on Friday 25 April

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Hotel strike

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, January 01, 2014

ABOUT 400 resort workers of two properties on Denarau, Nadi, walked off their jobs yesterday in a peaceful protest against alleged changes to their work conditions.

And while workers of Sheraton Fiji Resort and Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa returned to work at midday, they gave the management two weeks to address grievances raised during a meeting at the Narewa Village residence of the Tui Nadi Ratu Sailosi Dawai.

The workers camped out at Narewa Village and dispersed only after the conclusion of a meeting between members of the landowners committee and the resort management, headed by Scott Macdonald. Ratu Sailosi acted as mediator between the two groups.

During the four-hour long meeting, it was decided that the management be given 14 days to address concerns raised by the staff members.

Committee head Sikeli Gavidi said they would wait out the 14 days before deciding on their next course of action.

"They have given us their assurance that they will meet our grievances," said Mr Gavidi.

"It was decided that they needed time to address our concerns, so we have agreed on that time frame.

"The Tui Nadi, the vanua o Nadi and the police were witnesses to what they promised us, so I hope that they will come through."

The rift between the staff and management arose when issues such as work contracts and leave issuance were being allegedly neglected.

Mr Gavidi said work benefits from previous years were also neglected in 2013.

"It might not seem like much but we were given a few hampers during Christmas celebrations, this was always given out to staff in past years.

"Some of us depended on these benefits because most of us come from poor backgrounds, so when they reduced this benefit, we were very upset over it."

Meanwhile, the resorts have declined to comment on the issue. Earlier, the resorts confirmed a statement would be issued once discussions with LOC members were complete, however, upon enquiry the hotels' management chose not to comment.

Meanwhile, Minister for Labour Jone Usamate declared the strike unlawful.

In a government statement, Mr Usamate said the strike was in breach of Section 175, sub section one and two of the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007.