23 Aug 2005

Union defends legality of Air Vanuatu strike

3:37 pm on 23 August 2005

The union for Air Vanuatu workers says Monday's strike action by its members was not illegal.

Air Vanuatu workers acted following a breakdown in discussions about a collective bargaining agreement, job security and severance pay.

The minister of internal affairs, George Wells, called yesterday's strike illegal because the workers hadn't given proper notice and he wants the matter taken to court.

But the secretary general for the National Workers Union, Ephraim Kalsakau, says they had filed to take strike action with the Commissioner of Labour, six months ago.

He says there is no expiry date for a strike notice.

"We had the minister of internal affairs blaming the union for wildcat strikes, and he was the boss of labour in this country, and as far as he was concerned he hadn't been informed. That's a lot of crock and bull. He had been informed all along about the dispute."

Ephraim Kalsakau from Vanuatu's National Workers Union