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EDITORIAL: This Is No Time For Politics But Pragmatism

Semi Koroilavesau, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, has been working tirelessly, in his first seven days in office. His seemingly impossible mission is to try to break the
28 Oct 2015 16:15
EDITORIAL: This Is No Time For Politics But Pragmatism

Semi Koroilavesau, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, has been working tirelessly, in his first seven days in office.

His seemingly impossible mission is to try to break the deadlock with and trade unions. He is upbeat about his progress and the chances of his success.

Mr Koroilavesau’s positive attitude has resonated well with trade unionists he has met so far.

His ultimate test will be to get FTUC general secretary Felix Anthony and president Daniel Urai international Labour Organisation (ILO) sign the document he has been carrying.

He is hoping that he will take that document with him to Geneva next month for the Governing Body meeting.

This document will, hopefully, supercede the earlier joint report  which was signed only by Government and the employers and had been sent to Geneva. The unions refused to sign it saying it does not meet what they want.

Through Mr Koroilavesau’s efforts, light has been seen at the end of the tunnel. If that light shines brighter it would be positive for him. It would mean that the unions may have softened their original position as he fronts up to present Fiji’s case before the ILO Governing Body. If the ILO is not happy then it could call for a Commission of Inquiry. That inquiry would be damaging to the economy.

If Mr Korolavesau’s mission fails, he could be sitting on the opposite side to the unions in Geneva next month. The unions could be making a representation against  Government. That’s what Mr Koroilavesau wants to avoid.

The ILO official website says representation procedure is governed by articles 24 and 25 of the ILO Constitution. It grants an industrial association of employers or of workers the right to present to the ILO Governing Body a representation against any member state.

That’s if its view the state “has failed to secure in any respect the effective observance within its jurisdiction of any Convention to which it is a party”.

A three-member tripartite committee of the Governing Body may be set up to examine the representation and the government’s response.

The report that the committee submits to the Governing Body states the legal and practical aspects of the case, examines the information submitted, and concludes with recommendations.

Where the government’s response is not considered satisfactory, the Governing Body is entitled to publish the representation and the response.

The complaint procedure is governed by articles 26 to 34 of the ILO Constitution. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Governing Body may form a Commission of Inquiry, consisting of three independent members, which is responsible for carrying out a full investigation of the complaint, ascertaining all the facts of the case and making recommendations on measures to be taken to address the problems raised by the complaint.

A Commission of Inquiry is the ILO’s highest-level investigative procedure; it is generally set up when a member state is accused of committing persistent and serious violations and has repeatedly refused to address them. To date, 11 Commissions of Inquiry have been established against member states.

When a country refuses to fulfill the recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry, the Governing Body can take action under article 33 of the ILO Constitution. The trade unions must think seriously about their final position because failure to present a united tripartite approach could come back to haunt all of us. This is no time for politics but pragmatism. And union leaders thinking about all workers in Fiji, not just their own agendas.

 

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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