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State Enterprise Success: Good Formula For Workers

As we start the final month of the year, it is so easy to forget the great achievements we have attained this year. They need recognition and they remind us
03 Dec 2015 10:07
State Enterprise Success: Good Formula For Workers

As we start the final month of the year, it is so easy to forget the great achievements we have attained this year.
They need recognition and they remind us that despite the challenges we face, we have the resilience and goodwill to succeed. In the field of industrial relations, we have had a good run, reflected in the outstanding results achieved by State enterprises.
As we speak, we have a menacing proposed International Labour Organisation sponsored Commission of Inquiry hovering over us. Some unionists would seemingly want that.
It would come to land unless the Government, the employers and trade unions reach a joint agreement on the way forward for industrial relations.
Some progress has been made but more needs to be made to avert the commission of inquiry which would be detrimental to this country.
But let’s look at the brighter side. This week, two significant events happened and the people who benefitted were the workers.
 The Fiji Electricity Authority will pay $1.2 million to750 staff members. This is a performance payment for 2014 and is based on set key performance indicators (KPI).
The Housing Authority of Fiji will pay out $546,318 to 139 non-management staff and members as part of their salary adjustments.
They come on the back of reforms by the FijiFirst Government to lift the pay and working conditions of workers. They also join an impressive raft of worker-friendly initiatives and successes.
Lest we forget, here are some of them:
 In February this year, Fiji Airways Group announced record operating profits for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014. Fiji Airways reported a profit before income tax of $65.2 million compared to $8.3 million for the nine-month period ended December 31 2013. On a net basis, Fiji Airways reported an after-tax profit of $55.6m and the Group reported an after tax profit of $52.9m (versus after tax profits of $8.7m and $14.5m respectively for the nine-month period ended 31st December 2013. As a result, all eligible non-management staff of Fiji Airways and Fiji Link (835 in total) would receive a profit-share payout of $3000 each, subject to tax and superannuation deductions as required.
All eligible Fiji Airways and Fiji Link managers will receive a Management Bonus of $7000 each, subject to tax and superannuation deductions as required.
 In April, this year, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was in Drasa, Lautoka, to join celebrations for the success achieved by Fiji Pine Group of companies. In 2014, the group recorded an unprecedented consolidated operating profit of $21.27 million. Just four years before, in 2010, the group had consolidated losses of about $5 million. The improved result enabled the group to share some of its profits ($1 million) to the landowners. This payout was bigger that two previous payments totaling $780,000 made since February last year.
 In September this year, Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced to delighted 300 employees of the Fiji Ports Terminal Limited they would be sharing $221,000 as bonuses. This was the second time for the staff members to receive bonuses since the new partnership with Sri Lankan company Aitken Spence.
The highlighted events show two things. When workers and employers work for a common goal, it’s a win-win situation.
The biggest asset in a business is its workers. When workers are happy, they will produce. Bonuses, profit-sharing, pay adjustments or pay rises and a friendly working environment contribute to increased productivity.
We have the best formula here to boost our economy. It eliminates the us-and-them attitude and brings peace and stability to the industrial scene.
It is worth considering when Semi Koroilavesau, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Felix Anthony, general secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Attar Singh, general secretary of the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions and Nesbitt Hazelman, CEO of Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation, next meet for their tripartite discussions.

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