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Filipino Bus Drivers Illegal: Philippines Consulate General

Filipino Bus Drivers Illegal: Philippines Consulate General
December 02
18:44 2017

Employing Filipino nationals as commercial bus drivers in Fiji is illegal and a breach of contract, says Philippines Consul General Dr Virgilio de Asa.

In the local motor industry, he said, Filipino nationals were only employed for skilled work such as auto mechanics, heavy equipment mechanics and operators, bus fabricators, panel beaters and handy men.

“What I suspect is probably that some of these people (employers) take advantage – hopefully not – of these workers,” Dr de Asa said.

“There have been instances where some of these workers are being asked to do other jobs not on their employment contracts – which is actually illegal.”

Dr de Asa’s comments come in the wake of Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation chief executive officer Nesbitt Hazelman’s controversial claim that 36 Filipinos were working as bus drivers in the country.

Mr Hazelman, at the Parliament Speaker’s Debate on November 27, said the influx of foreign workers reflected the “skill shortage” in the country.

Dr de Asa did confirm that many Filipino nationals were coming to Fiji as both skilled and unskilled workers but denied they were being employed as bus drivers.

“If that’s true that some of them are being used as bus drivers, they did not come here as drivers in the first place,” Dr de Asa added.

He said no Filipino worker can be employed in the country without prior approval from the Philippines Consulate General’s Office.

Should approval be granted, he said, employers must honour the terms and conditions of the contract or be barred from hiring Filipino workers in the future.

“As far as I am concerned, I have never authenticated any documents (for Filipinos to work as bus drivers),” he added.

Meanwhile, Fiji Bus Operators Association president Richard Lal said that he had no knowledge of any Filipino bus drivers on the ground in Fiji.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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