#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Fiji Transport Workers Union responds to Dave Pflieger's Media statements

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fiji Transport Workers Union responds to Dave Pflieger's Media statements

This is in response to the various media articles whereby the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Air Pacific has made unfounded and untrue claims on the several issues relating to their dealings with Transport Workers Union (TWU). Let me clear the air on many of these issues.

Airline offers way out (Fiji Times 16th July 2011)
We have many a times informed the employer of our commitment to help the airline in whatever way possible. We remain committed to a review of the existing collective agreements. There are three collective agreements that exist between the company and TWU. The parties have chosen to review the collective agreement affecting flight attendants as this is the more complex one of the three. The review process will convene on the other two collective agreements affecting the ground staff as soon as the collective agreement affecting flight attendants is completed.

In the Fiji times front page article Mr. Pflieger lied that the complete contract proposals were given to the Union some two months ago. The truth is that the company's complete proposals were given to TWU on Tuesday 19th July 2011 during a meeting held at the Air Pacific Training Centre at 3pm.

This meeting was attended by the company's Human Resource Consultant (an American), their staff attorney, TWU Vice-President and myself. The proposals that the company claims were given some two months ago were incomplete and those who have the slightest knowledge of negotiations would agree with me that negotiations cannot be held on piece meal basis based on incomplete proposals. If the company's claim that they have been trying to negotiate for five months is anything to go by then it has taken the company five months to give to TWU their complete proposals. So why blame us.

The company's proposal contains clauses clawing back on existing conditions of employment. It includes massive reductions and withdrawal of the many benefits contained in the existing collective agreement that our members currently work with and were negotiated over many years.

Some of these are:
• Removal of several definitions from the collective agreement and including them in their own manuals. This will enable the company to make changes as they wish without having to deal with the Union.
• Removal of overtime pay
• Removal of long service leave
• Reduction of annual leave entitlements • Reduction of sick leave entitlements
• Removal of cosmetics allowances )=. Removal of winter clothing allowances • Removal of the right of appeal and right of representation in disciplinary cases.
• Restrictions on right of entry at work places.

There are media reports that the winter and cosmetics allowances are outdated and should be replaced with profit share. The company flies to and expects the flight attendants to stay for a few days in places where there is winter with extremely cool temperatures. Because of extreme coolness in these places appropriate winter clothing protection are required. The company's own policy stipulates that flight attendants should appear to be in a presentable manner, be good looking and for which appropriate cosmetics are required to be worn. To replace these with profit share is ill conceived. Infact the profit share that the company has proposed will be approved by the Board of Directors. Neither the employees nor the Union will have any say in this. Where is the rationale.

The company proposal contains a clause on double occupancy for flight attendants at layover ports.

This is not found in any collective agreements in the world and has been proposed with no regard to family and social consequences. The company's proposal contains many clauses that will significantly reduce the role of the Unions. These can not be allowed as workers have rights, a right to belong to the Union and rights to collectively bargain.

The employer is saying for us to agree to their entire proposal and in return there will not be job losses. This is just irrationale and sounds more like a demand. Dictatorship has no place in civil society.

The company has also said that they are looking at substantial cost savings through the review process. Despite our repeated requests the amount of cost savings is not being provided to us. Why?

Recruitment of Expatriates
Again in the Fiji Times of 16th July 2011 page 22 Mr. Pflieger lies about the number of expatriates the company currently has. He claims there is only one. The truth is apart from that one expatriate, the several consultants and lawyers the company has an expatriate as Airport Manager Nadi who replaced a local, Manager E-Commerce, Chief Commercial Officer who has taken over from a local General Manager Sales and Marketing and an Executive General Manager Operations and Services.
He replaces another expatriate who replaced a local. So you can see there is more than one expatriate and they together with the consultants stay in up market accommodations at Denarau and drive around in posh vehicles. They all enjoy a posh life here.

The Voluntary Separation Programme
The company notified us that it was overstaffed. We suggested that the way to handle this was through natural attrition, freeze on recruitment and a voluntary separation programme. The voluntary separation programme was introduced and a good number of employees applied. While the company approved for these employees to leave are now in the process of recruiting replacements for most of the positions. We do not see the rationale in reducing employees on one hand and replacing them on the other. This has come at a cost. The company is yet to respond to our request on how many employees it wants to lay off and by which departments. Our information is that they do not have such a number.

We have advised the company that job losses affects people, their families, the community they live in and the country at large. It affects the fabrics of the Fijian society as how will they be able to provide for food, shelter, education, etc to our people. We just can't compare ourselves with countries like America. America has a huge job market and social security for the unemployed.

We have raised several concerns on the level of expenditure incurred by Mr. Pflieger himself, the expatriates and consultants. These can be avoided.

This Union has offered several ways in which there could be cost savings. We rejected the offer by the company to meet at hotel venues and insisted in meetings in the company's premises to save costs. We agreed to a 3 months 10% pay reduction in 2009. Similar offers have been rejected by the current management. In early 1980's workers gave away one week pay. Since August 2006 workers have not received any pay increases. Workers are prepared to make more sacrifices to help a company we claim as ours. We can not give away our terms, conditions of employment and benefits for good.

We ask for Dave Pflieger and Samisoni Pareti to come clean on issues and not hide behind lies. We further ask for good faith to prevail as we embark on rescuing our company. We are not interested in their personal lives.

Kamlesh Kumar General Secretary
21st July 2011


Kaiviti from Perth said...

I have no respect for American style of management theory, just look at the Global Financial Crisis and America's own backyward of trillions of dollars of debt level. Why do we have to employ Americans at Management level - they know nothing too much dream business theory? These guys needs to be given a sack, we have competent fijian natives, locally and internationally who will deliver greater results with less pay. Fight on guys for your rights, don't be bullied.

Anonymous said...

Bhahud Dhanbaad Kamlesh...BRING IT ON....transparency for all to see....

Anonymous said...

Air Pacific was runned and managed by locals and was VERY successful. in those days, we had the fuel prices at most high, we pay leases of the Boeing aircrafts, we had the weakened FJD, we had long expensive routes like Narita, TYO, etc, we hedge on fuel prices, we had expensive dry stores..we built the FJ Hangar, we relocated from Suv to Nan..we had some worst economic and market conditions, BUT we were successful..Because we are Fiji and we believe in this company..This American is nothing less than a THUG..He must be taught to listern and learn,..or be shown the way out..bamboo raft

Anonymous said...

Just boycott Air Pathetic- their service is so pathetic. Why people to bother fly with them I don't understand, feeding only sandwiches on long haul trips shows struggling airline! Please fly Qantas or Air NZ.
Better services and professional.

Anonymous said...


We should blame nobody else but BAINIMARAMA & HIS BUNCH OF THUGS & THIEVES - FIJI ARMY. O ira na yavu Sotia bavulusese, lawakica, levu nodra viavia vuku, vuku lialia, vuli vakavo, ra yavu kete lelevu vaka-boto, pasi Fiji Junior Cert (FJC) ga, era matai ena vei vuniyaki.

All Bloggers, let us all come together and stand up against the illegal Regime of Bainimarama. They have brought all these calamities, disorder, corruption, nepotism, abuse of humanity, removing workers Rights, etc. All problems we are facing are caused by nobody else but Bainivore and his Army.

Thumb UP for Democracy, Down with Dictators (Baini).

Anonymous said...

Why post this here?

Go and find a contractor out there who can be hired to take out this American, Pareti and other expatriates.

Maybe that is the easy way out............

Anonymous said...

Sure failed politicians . Like your stories but full of shit

Anonymous said...

Good on you Kalmesh for getting the info out. keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

why do they need cosmetic allowance?
anyway ,,,,why are consultants needed for human resources, operations etc,,,these things are basics and there are a lot of experienced local graduates,,,,
but then there were too many managers in the old structure eg some were really clerks.
anyway - u doing a good job kamlesh,,,,,,very sensible counter proposals.

Ratu Borogaga said...

FO! these good for nothing kaivalagis...the country has no money and we keep hiring expatriates. Locals can do these works effectively as they have the country at heart.

They can't save our sinking economy, yet we keep recruiting them to hoodwink western nations that we have lotsa kaivalagis in our illegal gov.

Anonymous said...

Fair comment, Kamlesh.

Ogo said...

Kamlesh, thanks for standing up for your union members. Your CEO, David Pflieger has the typical American, "one size fit all" approach. Seems he has not taken the time or liberty to understand the airline business and its intrinsic link to the tourism industry and the people of Fiji. His reliance on consultants and spin doctor Sami Pareti, is a poor reflection on his ability, professional competency and leadership skills. As a Union Leader you need to consider and ask yourself the following:-
1. Is CEO showing staff that he understands the difficulties they will face in a major company strategy shift (has he explained new strategy?) or the introduction of new products or services?
2. Is CEO giving the staff the information they need to understand the business case for change?
3. Is CEO giving staff the opportunity to express and discuss their concerns, feelings about the transition?
4. Is CEO inspiring ALL staff with a detailed vision of the company's future - and what matters in getting there - and providing both practical and emotional support as they work out their new roles?
5. Is CEO involving staff at every level in translating the company's NEW vision (is there one?)into new operating procedures?

If you answered no to any of these questions, your Board of Directors employed the wrong CEO in Pflieger.

Anonymous said...

David you better go to your Guru aiyaz for advice,who will tell you to wait while he goes to his witch doctor in Nasinu for advice!!!

Anonymous said...

Dave Pflieger is nothing more then a crook. He has his hands in Ai-arse's pants and together they are both enjoying bringing on misery and destruction on all us Fijians of all races.

Out with this crook, out with Ai-Arse and OUT WITH THE REGIME.

Anonymous said...

Frank says...

Why do we (air Paciic ) need American consultants anyway.

What is wrong with local HR professionals & CEO. You ee this is the problem with a country that champions COUPs. Local highly qualified/experienced and competent people with hbigh IQ do not want to serve and tarnish their reputation, I mean hard esarned reputation working for an Illegal regime.
Lets get that straight...

Fiji's engine room (intellectual properties) has been trashed by this treasonous act of Frank & his company.

Anonymous said...

kudos to c4.5 the truth is finally out,
You think they FIJI TIMES n SUN will print this nah

C4,5 Great readin KK keep fighting

semimiau said...

Good on you Kamlesh please keep on the fight.That is what we need.I wish and hope there is a chance of a national strike to bring down this illegal regime.Good luck Fiji lets keep on fighting for our democratic rights and freedom.

Yankee Go Home said...

The proposed Vital National Industry Decree 2011 was authored by Dave Pflieger. The aim of this decree is to remove and destroy worker's and union rights. It contravenes ILO Conventions and Human Rights Laws. The International Brotherhood of Trade Unions should file a case with ILO, UN and the Hague to have Pflieger tried as a criminal. As author of this draconian decree (he is Aiyaz Kaiyum's lap dog) this low life should be locked up at Naboro Max and the keys thrown deep into Beqa Lagoon!

Anonymous said...

stop worshipping devils and satans kamlesh

Anonymous said...

Mr Chairman Patel why are you silent? you and your board members hired this idiot who was only a department manager (operations) and later managed a domestic lowcost airline "Song" that went under.No experience at International level and not to mention the other idiot that sits on the board with no experience in aviation apart from being a flight attendant Elizabeth Powell get real girl and do your self a favour and bow out before you make a bigger fool of your self.

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