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ATSET: Nothing to hide

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WE have nothing to hide.

This was the message from Air Terminal Services Employees Trust secretary Vili Finau to ATS board chairman Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Finau was responding to comments made by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum at a press conference this week where he claimed ATS Fiji Ltd paid out $5.7 million in dividends to ATSET.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum claimed Mr Finau had made comment that the only dividend ATSET received for its beneficiaries was about $556,000 in 2016.

Mr Finau said he earlier stated that ATSET did not receive dividends for some years because the information about payments received and how they were administered were locked inside their office.

The ATSET secretary said they were making attempts to gain access to the office in order to clarify how much was paid from management to ATSET and how the funds were distributed to members.

The ATS board chair said the issue required an investigation because more than $5m of ATS staff money was unaccounted for.

"It was only after ATS clarified the union claims about lack of dividends since 2005 did the whole country know that something very fishy was going on at ATSET," said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Finau said ATSET was ready to open its books for inspection, but only to its members.

"We at ATSET welcome any queries once ATS management allows us back into our office to retrieve our books," he said.

"We have nothing to hide and any disclosure with regards to the administering of our dividends will be done in a special general meeting with ATSET beneficiaries and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is not one of them."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also said cost of living adjustments had been an ongoing issue because the unions had not been willing to "negotiate in good faith with COLA conditions being accepted then rejected at a later date by the union".

Federated Airlines Staff Association national secretary Vilikesa Naulumatua said this was not true and claimed the ATS board chairman had never been involved in any negotiations over COLA.

"We have never agreed with anything on COLA because the negotiations have dragged on for years," he said.

"We wanted COLA to be based on the consumer price index and management wanted to pay us a very small percentage. The CPI is 5.6 per cent, but we had agreed to 4.3 per cent. Management came to us with a proposal that they pay 1.5 per cent and a further 0.5 per cent in 2019 and we did not agree with that," he claimed.

"Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was never part of our negotiations, so he should not be making any statements on the issue."








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