NEWS

Unions Reject Report to ILO

 Trade unions have refused to sign a joint report between them, Government and employers to the International Labour Organisation. Their decision could backfire and ultimately hurt their members if the
16 Oct 2015 09:32
Unions Reject Report to ILO

 Trade unions have refused to sign a joint report between them, Government and employers to the International Labour Organisation.

Their decision could backfire and ultimately hurt their members if the ILO goes ahead with a Commission of Inquiry into Fiji.

An inquiry could hurt the economy and cost jobs.

Attar Singh, Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions general secretary, confirmed yesterday that they did not sign because the report fell short of what they expected.

This is despite the number of concessions the Government made in the meeting of the Employment Relations Advisory Board attended by trade unions, non-unionised worker representatives and employers.

Among the concessions is the reduction of strike notice from 28 to 14 days for unions in the essential industries.

But Mr Singh said they had attended the meeting in good faith and had engaged the Government. He confirmed that they wanted changes to the Constitution, the Political Parties decree and the new Employment Relations Promulgation Amendment Act 2015.

“These are nothing new,” he said. He said they were there in the original submissions to the ILO.

He said the Government’s proposed report did not go far enough.

The Tripartite forum forms the basis for the joint report to the ILO’s governing body. But it’s now clear that both FICTU and the Fiji Trades Union Congress won’t be part of it. The FTUC boycotted the three-day meeting which ended on Wednesday in protest against the attendance by FICTU which it does not recognise as a legitimate workers’ advocate.

FTUC’s general secretary Felix Anthony and president Daniel Urai could not be reached to comment yesterday. It is understood FTUC is of the opinion that FICTU cannot sign the joint report anyway because it is not recognised by the ILO.

The first joint report signed earlier this year was between Government, FTUC and the employers.

But Mr Singh said FICTU and its affiliate, the Fijian Teachers Association, lodged the first complaints to ILO against the Government in 2000. FTUC came into the picture much later, he claimed.

He said it was an absolute lie to suggest that FICTU was not recognised by the ILO. He disputed FTUC’s claim that it represented a majority of workers. Mr Singh claimed they had more members than FTUC.

It is understood that all those present in the ERAB meeting had signed except for trade union officials. Representatives of non-unionised workers, who make up at least 70 per cent of the workers in Fiji, also attended the meeting. Whether they signed too is not clear.

Government is expected to make a statement soon.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper