200-plus axed airline workers in Fiji to return to work soon – Viljoen

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Fiji Airways managing director & CEO Andre Viljoen. Picture: FT FILE/JONA KONATACI

More than 200 former employees of Fiji Airways who were terminated during the height of the pandemic will return to work soon.

Managing director and chief executive officer Andre Viljoen revealed this at the final day of the 2023 BSP Life Fiji Human Resources Institute Convention in Nadi yesterday.

This came in two months after Civil Aviation Minister Viliame Gavoka announced the return of these axed workers.

While he did not announce any date, he hinted that “we’ve been working with the unions and we had an agreement of people who will be coming back on a short notice”.

Mr Viljoen said the processes undertaken at the height of the pandemic was for the best of the organisation and the leadership team took the tough decision to let go of some of its employees to save costs and keep the airline running despite the closure of borders.

He informed human resources expatriates that the airline did what it could to save the organisation and they worked round-the-clock to keep it running until the reopening of international borders in December 2021.

Mr Viljoen explained that the airline’s survival was necessary and executives retained employees that kept the airline alive when the COVID-19 plague crippled the global economy.

“We terminated eight expatriates, we basically had 77 expatriate pilots who were also terminated, 20 foreign staff in other airports, eight expatriates and executives and crew members,” Mr Viljoen said.

“We are working with the unions and we had an agreement of people who will be coming back on a short notice.

“Others have chosen not to.”

It is believed that the Government will make an announcement on this reinstatement soon.

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