21 Jul 2011

Legal threats put paid to Fiji action

3:26 pm on 21 July 2011

Trade unions have backed away from industrial action involving airlines serving Fiji because of the possibility of lawsuits.

Fiji trade unionists had requested support in New Zealand and Australia because of what they called violence and harassment by the Fiji regime.

Both the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) in New Zealand and the Transport Workers Union in Australia threatened to stop servicing flights to the islands.

But the CTU has received a lawyer's letter from Air Pacific pointing out strike action is lawful only in support of health and safety or a collective agreement.

A similar law applies across the Tasman, where a court ruling ordered the union to desist.

Both unions say it's shameful for airlines to maintain operations that depend on workers being intimidated.

But Air Pacific says industrial action would have threatened the livelihood of thousands.