11 Jul 2002

Government meets with union and airline, in last ditch attempts to avoid strike

4:55 pm on 11 July 2002

The Fiji government is making a last ditch attempt to avert a strike by employees of the national airline, Air Pacific, which is scheduled to begin from midnight tomorrow.

Radio Fiji says the government is convening a meeting of all parties involved this afternoon.

Representatives of Air Pacific, the Fiji Aviation Workers Association, the ministry of civil aviation and the minister for labour, Keeneth Zinck, will be at the talks.

The association has said that their members protest will begin with a work to rule and ban on overtime, but will escalate into a full strike if Air Pacific does not address the issues in dispute, some of which go back four years.

But its secretary, Attar Singh, says flights carrying delegates to the summit of African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries which begins in Nadi next week, will not be disrupted.

Air Pacific's chief executive, John Campbell, says they will take part in today's talks in good faith.


The International Trade Federation says it will pressure Air Pacific to return to negotiations and solve the dispute.

The Asia Pacific secretary of the ITF, Shigeru Wada says the ITF which represent 137 countries says it is giving moral support by lobbying Air Pacific to resume negotiations.

And Mr Wada says the ITF may take direct action against Air Pacific if the employees concerns are not addressed.

"We don't exclude the possibility of taking more direct action against Air Pacific Ltd. In the past when a dispute of this kind turns into a very serious one, for example, the ITF asks the affiliates not to cross the picket line or not to disrupt the strike action of the union involved. At this moment we are not asking for any direct action."

Shigeru Wada in Tokyo