7 Oct 2005

Vanuatu workers union critical of Air Vanuatu chairman's wage increase

1:39 pm on 7 October 2005

Vanuatu's National Workers Union has criticised the decision by the shareholders of Air Vanuatu to increase the airline chairman's wage.

The Chairman's wage increase to 2,300 US dollars a month comes during a continuing dispute with the Workers Union which objects to the airline's decision last month to sack 26 of its employees.

Air Vanuatu insists the job terminations were part of a planned redundancy to help cut costs and address a huge financial loss at the carrier.

But the Union's general-secretary Ephraim Kalsakau says this reasoning is at odds with the chairman's wage increase.

"We don't agree with the pay rise. It shows that... [they] talk about redundancy to make money - actually it's just a load of crap. They're just trying to find money to pay themselves increases in wages - that's senior management, and probably the board members too."

The union is still waiting for a response from the airline to the Labour Commissioner's attempts to bring the dispute to arbitration.