25 Jul 2002

Fiji ministers to attempt to mediate Air Pacific strike

10:24 am on 25 July 2002

Fiji's labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, and civil aviation minister, Konisi Yabaki, are expected to mediate in the Air Pacific strike which has crippled the airline's services.

Mr Zinck says the government cannot stand by and watch as the strike by members of the Fiji Aviation Workers Association is drastically affecting the country's tourism industry.

He says potential job losses, economic damage and the build-up of bad blood between the airline and the unionists make their intervention necessary.

Meanwhile a volunteer crew member of an Air Pacific flight to Los Angeles during the current strike has been detained by US immigration officials.

Radio Fiji says the woman was detained for travelling with a visitor's visa when she should have had the appropriate work visa for crew members.

The radio quotes airport sources as saying the woman had worked during the flight to Los Angeles on Tuesday night, more than 24 hours after regular cabin crew walked off their jobs.

She was detained and ordered to leave the United States on the first available flight.

Air Pacific is reported to have been fined over the incident but has declined to comment.