Fiji Time: 6:41 AM on Wednesday 17 January

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ATS march

Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, January 13, 2018

LEADER of the Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa supports the Air Terminal Services march in Nadi today.

The protest, organised by the Fiji Trades Union Congress, is a show of support for the Air Terminal Services workers who have been in a dispute with ATS management since December 16, 2017.

Ro Teimumu said she was inspired by the level of unity, courage and tenacity shown by the ATS employees.

"It is truly inspiring to witness their level of courage. It gives me hope for Fiji's future," she said in a statement yesterday.

"For more than 11 years, these workers have been struggling.

"Their grievances and concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears. They are weary of all the trumped up legal mumbo-jumbo conjured up to confuse and confound their very simple and clear employment issues.

"It is ludicrous and laughable to say that those in power will not condone a march that belittles the Government.

"The march is not about the government's fragile ego and the statement issued earlier this week by the Prime Minister is indicative of a tyrannical and dictatorial leadership style.

"It would bode the government well to understand the basic concept of workers' rights as human rights and to keep firmly in mind, august bodies such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) are surely observing these proceedings keenly."

She also called on Government to think of the consequences of their actions.

"Government should also realise that their actions could have far reaching international consequences in terms of the safety and security of operations of foreign and domestic aircraft and their passengers.

"The Prime Minister mu­st understand that ma­king such a statement actually denigrates his own Government for failing to respect democratic processes. We pay no consideration to Government's attack on the Opposition with their usual and baseless rhetoric of 'politicising the issue'.

"As a matter of fact, dealing with Government owned entities implies there is likelihood of political inferences and it is surprising the government fails to realise that.

"I encourage the general public to turn out in numbers in solidarity and support the locked-out ATS staff at the planned march this Saturday.

"Let us assure the ATS workers we care deeply about their livelihoods, workers' rights and right to collective bargaining."

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