UNION members and supporters (and a few journos) gathered on the steps of the building that houses the Fiji Consulate General in Sydney to show solidarity with Fijian airport workers.
The 220 aviation ground handlers have been locked out of their workplace at Nadi International Airport by their employer, Air Terminal Services (ATS) since December 16.
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The rally, organised by the International Transport Workers’ Federation, aimed to put pressure on the Fijian government – a 51% shareholder in ATS – to end the lockout and allow the workers to return to work.
A statement from the ITF explains that the workers, including baggage handlers, check-in staff, engineers and caterers – were locked out after attending a meeting where issues of mismanagement were discussed.
Former ACTU president Ged Kearney delivered a letter from Paddy Crumlin to the Fijian Consulate during the rally.
The letter says the ITF is alarmed about reports that experience ground crew had been replaced by workers who lack sufficient experience.
“This has put safety standards at significant risk,” the letter reads.
“Tourism is of course a major enterprise in Fiji, and for the industry to be successful, travellers must be confident that their safety and security is assured.”