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'I was on day off'

Felix Chaudhary And Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, December 30, 2017

MAHESH Chand cannot understand why he was given a stand-down letter by Air Terminal Services Fiji Ltd.

The 57-year-old senior catering attendant says he was not rostered for duty on Saturday, December 16.

He was one of 250 workers who had attended a meeting of ATS shareholders organised by ATS Employees Trust.

The meeting began at 1pm and ended at 4pm.

After the meeting was completed he had returned home and reported for duty on Monday in accordance to his roster.

"When I came to work on Monday, December 18, the security let me in but when I went to begin my duties, they told me that I had to leave the premises," he said.

"They said my name was on a list of workers who had been stood down for abandoning my post.

"I told them I was not rostered for duty but they didn't want to hear anything I had to say.

"I walked out the gate and joined my brothers and sisters who had been locked out."

Mr Chand said he has been with ATS for the past 27 years and this was the first time workers had been treated in such a manner by management.

He believes it is time disgruntled employees stood up for themselves.

He started as a cleaner for the company before moving up the ranks to supervisor, looking after 22 workers in the catering department.

"I started with almost $3.50 and now as a senior staff, I get between $6 and $7," he said.

Mr Chand said his family had a long and proud history with the company.

"My father was a founding member of ATS when it was bought from QANTAS," he said.

"He dedicated his life to this company and stayed with them for more than 30 years.

"Even though I got my work through my own merit, I believe that ATS began as a company that looked after its people.

"During that time, the management looked after their workers and their families by allowing their children to work at ATS.

"The reason I am sitting here is that my younger colleagues will never know what it's like to work under a good management team.

"They won't know what it's like to have a management that cared about their workers and enjoy the benefits that we used to get.

"We had dividend payments that helped us build houses, buy cars and even send our children overseas."

Mr Chand said many families were employed by the company.

He said he would have loved to see his own sons work for the company.

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