The President of the Fiji Flight Attendants Trade Union, Joe McGowan says none of the 245 union members who are former workers Fiji Airways were bullied into taking legal action against the airline company after comments made by the Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in parliament.
While speaking during the motion to increase the Government guarantee for Fiji Airways loans, Sayed-Khaiyum said that some of the former workers were bullied into taking legal action against the airline.
McGowan says the union has 400 plus members and 245 members decided to go ahead with the legal action.
He stresses no one was forced to take the legal action and according to the law, the grievances were signed individually by the affected workers who wanted to take the action.
National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad had also touched on the issue in parliament of Fiji Airways telling the members reapplying for a job to withdraw the case.
The Flight Attendants Trade Union President says he is not aware of any member asked to withdraw the legal action.
However McGowan reveals that Fiji Airways had communicated to them in an earlier email that the company will not consider anyone who has taken the action.
Legal Tribunal, Aleem Shah has dismissed Fiji Airways application to strike out former Fiji Airways flight attendants’ grievances in the Employment Relations Tribunal.
The flight attendants’ contracts were terminated in May last year as part of the COVID-19 cost-cutting exercise.
The former Fiji Airways employees are not happy with the way their contracts were terminated and have filed for redress.
Fiji Airways had applied to strike the matter out on the basis that the flight attendants failed to file an appeal under the Collective Agreement and had also said that the Employment Relations Act requires that internal appeals are exhausted before a grievance is reported.
The flight attendants through lawyer Jon Apted had argued that the appeal provision in the Collective Agreement only applies to disciplinary dismissals and these were not disciplinary dismissals.
They had also argued that even if someone fails to exhaust an internal appeal system before reporting a grievance to Mediation Services, that does not mean the grievance should be struck out.
The Tribunal accepted the flight attendants' argument.
The grievances will now proceed to hearing.
The matter will be called on 22nd March for further directions.
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