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Industrial Strike Must Be A Measure Of Last Resort

Industrial Strike Must Be A Measure Of Last Resort
October 02
11:25 2017

While the Fijian Constitu­tion guarantees the right to peaceful assembly, demonstration and picketing as well as confers to trade unions and employers the right to bargain col­lectively, strikes and lockouts must be a measure of last resort consid­ering its disruptive and potentially deleterious consequences.

It is imperative that the remedies for employment disputes and griev­ances outlined in national legisla­tive framework namely the Em­ployment Relations Act (ERA) are fully exhausted before a strike or a lockout is even considered.

It must be noted that even the In­ternational Labour Organisation (ILO) position is that “disputes over rights set out in law, collective agreements or contracts of employ­ment are often not considered to justify recourse to strike action.

This is because the parties are expected to have recourse to adju­dication by the relevant judicial or other body to resolve the dispute, following any conciliation proce­dure that may be applicable”.

Due consideration must also be given to the fact that health servic­es falls within the ambit of essen­tial services.

The ILO has taken the position that “it is admissible to limit or pro­hibit the right to strike in essential services, defined as those the inter­ruption of which would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the popula­tion”.

The right to strike is not absolute and often subjected to certain legal conditions or restrictions as recog­nised by the ILO.

The Commission, therefore, im­plores those calling for an unlawful walkout to take full cognisance of the limitations set out under Sec­tion 20 (5) (e) and (f) of the Fijian Constitution and fully exhaust the processes of good faith in bargain­ing for collective agreement as out­lined under s.149 of the ERA, the development of a code of good faith as per the provisions of s.152 with an explicit reference to s.174 of the ERA which provides that where a strike or lockout is threatened in an essential service that there is an opportunity for a mediated solution to the problem.

In the interests of protecting the economic and social wellbeing of not only our nurses but also the social and economic rights of or­dinary Fijians particularly the in­digent, the most vulnerable in our society who have no other recourse but to our public health facilities, the Human Rights and Anti-Dis­crimination Commission strongly encourages all parties to act in good faith in bargaining for a col­lective agreement.

This will require putting the peo­ple of Fiji before politics and paro­chialism.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Kautiliya
    Kautiliya October 03, 06:15

    Mr. Raj with due respect to your office,you have jumped the gun on this,as there was request of any kind
    before you.
    Just remember it take two to tango,your remarks appears to be directed solely towards the Unions and its leaders with implied threat but not the government.

    Reply to this comment

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