20 Oct 2005

Vanuatu Workers Union hopeful of reinstatement for 26 Air Vanuatu staff

4:37 pm on 20 October 2005

The Vanuatu National Workers Union says it's exhausting all avenues of discussion before deciding on whether to hold a street demonstration over its dispute with Air Vanuatu.

Despite having three applications for a permit to demonstrate rejected by police, the Union still has plans to take to the streets over the sacking of 26 union members by Air Vanuatu for participating in a five-hour strike.

Three key shareholder representatives of the airline - Prime Minister Ham Lini, Finance Minister Moana Carcasses and the Public Utilities minister Edward Natapei - are due to meet to discuss issues at the troubled carrier tomorrow.

The union's general-secretary, Ephraim Kalsakau, says they're exhausting the last option before deciding on whether to march.

"VANGO, which is the association of NGOs, came out in the papers yesterday, supporting the union's claims and stance. And the Council of Chiefs in Port Vila already stated that they were behind the Union's stand and were ready to march with us. So tomorrow will be, I guess, the last straw."

Ephraim Kalsakau