2022 General Election: Trade unions ‘vital’

A large number of Union members and their supporters march through Nadi Town to raise grievances of the Air Terminal Service workers yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

A large number of Union members and their supporters march through Nadi Town to raise grievances of the Air Terminal Service workers. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FT FILE

The massive termination of Fijian workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is a sobering reminder of the vital role trade unions play in securing labour protection, says The People’s Alliance deputy leader Manoa Kamikamica.

While speaking to former airline workers at a party rally in Nadi this week, he said trade unions were an integral part of protecting workers rights from such actions by employers.

“You must never forget the massive termination of Fijian workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“It was a sobering reminder to us the entire vital role that unions play in securing labour protection and right.

“As a former member of the airline industry family, I will never forget the massive job losses a majority of whom are parents with mortgages and bill payments who were left with limited income impossible to sustain their families for a longer period of time.

“In May 2020, Fiji Airways terminated contracts of 758 of their staff.

“A month later, the Fiji Trade Unions Congress (FTUC) condemned the decision by ATS to lay off 285 workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said a The People’s Alliance-led government would ensure trade unions had a seat at the bargaining table.

“The People’s Alliance and the NFP government will consult with the people of Fiji.

“This way we can rebuild Fiji together. The days of one-man or two-man rule are over.

“Over the last 75 years the union movement and FTUC has campaigned to make Fiji a better place to live in and work in by bringing together about 30,000 plus members under their umbrella and the People’s Alliance hopes that we will work together to bring about a stronger Fiji.”

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