285 employees of Airport Terminal Services are now unemployed following the termination of their contracts effective today.
The terminations are a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has left ATS experiencing a drastic 95% reduction in business.
As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ATS has experienced a drastic 95% reduction in business, a statement by ATS CEO Hari Mani stated.
This has resulted in significant uncertainty around the return of commercial flights at Nadi International Airport.
The statement went to to say that, ATS does not expect to see a return to pre COVID-19 level of operations in the foreseeable future.
ATS is therefore now in the unfortunate position of being unable to fulfil contracts of employment.
On Wednesday this week, the ATS Board of Directors approved management to implement termination employment contracts.
Effective today, 285 employees have had their contracts of employment terminated.
The Company notes that this was a very difficult decision to make, and one only made after exhausting all other options.
In implementing termination, the company chose not to simply give notice, as per the employment contract, rather to make payment in lieu of notice.
Over 40% of the workforce had already exhausted paid leave provisions and were on LWOP.
Employees therefore received 2 weeks’ of wages they would not otherwise have been entitled to.
Further to this the Company paid a 10% loading on all accumulated annual and long service leave as per their contract.
ATS will proceed with further terminations, however, is careful to ensure enough time was provided to those employees who may wish to apply for their contractual provision of Voluntary Early Retirement with substantial financial benefits.
The Company has already processed Voluntary Early Retirement for 30 employees to date.
The Company consulted with the Federated Airline Staff Association yesterday, and emphasised the goal of achieving a mutually beneficial outcome, when addressing termination of contracts.
Unfortunately, the meeting eventually ended with the Federated Airline Staff Association officials walking out without exploring this option.
The Company empathises with workers they represent, as it is of the view that employees have missed out on an opportunity to cease employment on terms over and above minimum entitlements.
With many of ATS employees already at home on paid on unpaid leave, there may be uncertainty regarding their employment status.
Individuals should not hesitate to contact the HR office to clarify this.
Earlier this month ATS had implemented retirement as per the respective article of the employment contract for 22 employees who were over the age of 55 years.
These employees were also assisted by paying notice in lieu of notice where this was not required.
As business picks up and as the opportunity presents itself, the Company will revisit its position.