30 Jul 2004

Air Fiji sacks striking engineers

8:23 am on 30 July 2004

Fiji's domestic airline has sacked 27 striking engineers.

Air Fiji took action after the 27 of the 29 striking engineers failed to return to work, when the labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, declared their industrial action to be illegal.

The engineers took industrial action after the airline refused to reinstate one senior engineer, Thomas Newton, and refused to pay compensation to another, Joe Ah Yuk, who was forced to retire.

An airline spokesperson, Shaenaz Voss, says the 27 engineers did not return to work even though the deadline was extended several times.

Police have stepped up security around Air Fiji's engineering base at Nausori Airport and are very likely to lay charges against those sacked for taking part in an illegal strike.

But the general secretary of the Transport Workers Union, Attar Singh, says the sackings are not justified because the strike's been legal all along.