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Air Pacific Set To Lose Fijian Identity

Air Pacific has entered into a process of consultation with the New Zealand Service & Food Workers Union over plans to consider contracting out their reservations department to Qantas.

"This would make six workers redundant and Qantas has no obligation to take these workers on", said Ms Darien Fenton, National Secretary of the Service & Food Workers Union.

The SFWU fears that the Fijian community will be disadvantaged by the loss of the Airline's reservation services to Qantas.

"There are cultural issues to consider here", said Ms Fenton. "Presently the reservations staff are all of Fijian or Fijian Indian descent, making it easy for them to communicate with the majority of Air Pacific customers who are usually returning home to Fiji from New Zealand."

"If the contracting out of reservations goes ahead the new reservations facility will operate out of Qantas' Auckland call center form 8.30am - 5pm, and out of Sydney outside of these hours."

"We don't believe that this service will be able to meet the needs of the Fijian communities, both in New Zealand and Fiji."

"There are language issues as well as an inherent knowledge of the culture and geography of Fiji that the current reservations staff have that will not be replicated by," said Ms Fenton.

The SFWU is currently attempting to persuade Air Pacific of the benefits of maintaining and improving their internal reservations department, thus retaining the airline's Pasifika identity and saving the six worker's jobs.

"We have been assured that this option will be taken seriously and we are currently pursuing these negotiations with Air Pacific," said Ms Fenton.

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