About 150 people in Fiji are expected to temporarily fill vacant positions created by the industrial dispute at Air Terminal Services. The company, known as ATS, provides ground handling for international airlines at Nadi International Airport.
Sourcing help from stakeholders or other companies will be a costly exercise for the Air Terminal Services. But it will be done if it’s necessary to keep operations at the Nadi International Airport running smoothly, said chief executive officer Hare Mani, Fiji Sun reports.
“Of course it’s going to cost us a lot of money because we are talking here about ground handling services and keeping to the standards required at any international airport,” he said.
Social media statements said that ATS was going to cop the huge bill of outsourcing the work at Nadi International Airport which would affect the company.
Mr Mani said this was something the company was ready for. However they still preferred that their workers return to work to do the work that they have been trained to do.
“Eventually we hope to work something out and the workers will return,” he said.
“The calls are still coming in. We are getting enquiries and we have been reliably informed that there are some who are wanting to return to work.”
Yesterday, the number of those returning to work stood at 27.
They have joined workers who stayed at work and maintained services.
On the resolution of the issue, Mr Mani said that they have met as management and were now awaiting further discussions with the ATS Board to discuss the option given by the Ministry of Labour and Industrial Relations.
“We’ve talked and now we will await further instructions from the ministry on what is to be done. It’s only from there that we will be able to discuss things further.” Mr Mani said.
“We want a quick resolution to this, but we are now at this stage where we have to wait.”
The impasse is now reaching the end of its third week and with school beginning in less than a fortnight, many are concerned about what is going to happen to the people who are on strike.
“I urge the workers to consider the offer that the ATS management is making and return to work.”
Workers who belong to the Air Terminal Services Employees Trust (ATSET) and Federated Airline Staff Association (FASA) walked off their jobs over a fortnight ago to attend a meeting.
Upon returning to work after the three-hour meeting, ATS management had locked them out labelling their walking off as illegal. This was later confirmed by the Ministry of Labour and Industrial Relations.
Included in the workers grievances were calls for the removal of Mr Mani and other managers, backpay and cost of living adjustments.