Fiji Airports Limited Workers Given Higher Salaries

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Government moves to ‘level playing field’ for all workers

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 20, 2012) – Close to 250 Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) workers received early Christmas presents through news that government has approved pay increases — more than a decade after the last salary adjustment was made.

The increments which ranged from an increase of FJ$2,000 [US$1,115] per annum for baggage handlers and us much as FJ$8,000 [US$4,460] for technical officers was endorsed by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Those who benefitted from the increases included baggage handlers, firemen, security officers, plumbers, painters, carpenters, landscapers and drivers.

The pay rise followed recommendations by the company's executive management and board, with the approval of the Attorney General and Minister for Public Enterprise and Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

In making the announcement to AFL workers in Nadi yesterday, Commodore Bainimarama said he endorsed the increase because it was in-line with his government's policies of leveling the playing field for all workers in the country.

"I heard the concerns raised by you that there has been no pay rise since 1999 and I hope this pay review by Hay will have solved this issue to bring those below FJ$10,000 [US$5,575] and FJ$15,000 [US$8,363] up to a level we are comfortable with," he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum revealed that the pay increase would cost AFL approximately FJ$725,000 [US$404,256] per annum.

"You all play a significant role in the work that you do at the tourist gateway that is the Nadi International Airport," Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum.

"Enjoy this pay rise but we also urge you to continue to contribute to AFL," he said.

Acting chairman at the AFL board Faiz Khan said the pay rise was not viewed as an expense by the company but an investment in the workers.

"The major driving force behind this pay rise is to remove the disparity between highly paid staff and others such as the 247 of you. In essence, the company through this initiative has put the ball firmly into your court. Now it is your turn, improve your game, tow your lines and show us what you can do for the company," he said.

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