Amendments will legalise breach – FLP

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

The Fiji Labour Party (FLP) says amendments to the Employment Relations Promulgation (2007) passed by Parliament on Thursday will legalise the breach of employment contract by Fiji Airways when it terminated 758 staff members.

“It is, undoubtedly, a special legislation passed mainly to save Fiji Airways’ back,” claimed FLP leader and former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

“There is an element of complicity at work here which must be deplored.” He said the Fiji Flight Attendants Trade Union had stated its intention to take legal action at the manner in which more than 430 of its members were terminated on Monday, in breach of their collective agreement.

“This is meant to frustrate court action by the flight attendants’ union in this particular case.

“It is also designed to pre-empt action by any other union whose members are similarly maltreated.

“It is dangerous as it paves the way for employers to terminate workers willy-nilly under the guise of the COVID-19 crisis but prevents unions from taking legal action to protect their workers’ rights.

“It is also effectively tying the hands of the courts.”

Mr Chaudhry, however, warned that the legislation could not be used retrospectively, or backdated.

He said the amendment to the 2007 Act did not specify an effective date for the changes but left it to the discretion of the minister.

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