Fiji Time: 7:51 PM on Tuesday 23 January

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ATS dispute

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, January 09, 2018

EMPLOYMENT and Industrial Relations Minister Jone Usamate says he will consider a request by Air Terminal Services (Fiji) Ltd workers for an independent mediator to handle the dispute they have with the management.

As the impasse entered its 25th day, ATS workers' representative, the Federated Airline Staff Association (FASA), said it had written to the ministry asking for an independent mediator. FASA has also filed a dispute with the ministry about ATS management's decision to hold a recruitment drive for 150 temporary workers to replace the more than 200 who remain camped outside the ATS headquarters in Nadi since December 16, last year.

Mr Usamate acknowledged receipt of the requests from FASA for an independent mediator and also the complaint about the use of scab labour.

"The request for another mediator is being looked at," he said.

In response to questions over ATS management using scab labour, the minister said the matter would be looked into.

"Disputes lodged with the ministry will be addressed as per the legislation."

FASA national secretary Vilikesa Naulumatua said engaging an independent mediator was in the best interest of all parties involved.

"We have given them names and we will look at accredited mediators in the country and especially at people specifically in the industrial relations field," he said.

"We want conciliatory mediation where the mediator understands the laws that are in place and also has a good understanding of our unique situation."

Mr Naulumatua said the dispute filed with the ministry over scab labour was a serious matter because no recruitment or employment could be conducted without FASA's participation in the process as per the ATS-FASA agreement.

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