NEWS

EDITORIAL-Proud Fijians Will Not Do Anything To Damage Our Reputation

The revelation that some Fijian seasonal workers have been guilty of misconduct and disorderly behavior is disturbing. According to Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate, the issues
09 Jun 2017 10:36
EDITORIAL-Proud Fijians Will Not Do Anything To Damage Our Reputation
Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate

The revelation that some Fijian seasonal workers have been guilty of misconduct and disorderly behavior is disturbing.

According to Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate, the issues raised by New Zealand employers are alcohol-related, failing to report to work, not showing  respect, poor leadership, unhygienic living, high absenteeism and undue influence from the Fijian community in NZ.

As a result, Mr Usamate said the  following villages or settlements had now been put on a four-year suspension from participating in the seasonal work scheme: Tuatua of Tikina Mudu in Lomaiviti; Dogoru of Tikina Wailevu, Nubu and Sasa of Tikina Nadogo, Vitina of Tikina Dogotuki, Lomaloma of Tikina Seaqaqa in Macuata; Makolei of Tikina Solevu, Nasolo of Tikina Nadi in Bua;  Nakobo of Tikina Cakaudrove, Vatukaroa and Natuvu of Tikina Saqani in Cakaudrove; Davetalevu, Matacula and Nakorovou of Tikina Namalata, Nadrano and Lawaki of Tikina Namena, Luvunavuaka and Natalaira of Tikina Dawasamu, Nabulini of Tikina Nailega, Namoka, Natuvatuvavatu and Nayavu of Tikina Nayavu, Naivicula of Tikina Naloto, Natuva of Tikina Taivugalei, Dakuinuku of Tikina Sawakasa in Tailevu; Nadala of Tikina Savatu in Ba; and Wauosi of Tikina Namataku in Navosa. The suspension is effective immediately.”

Mr Usamate says the decision to suspend the workers and their villages or settlements is not a sudden or new decision made by the Government but has been clearly conveyed during the Ministry’s tikina based recruitment and consultation nationwide.

From its inception, the programme has been carefully planned and prepared to avoid the potential pitfalls that we are now having to deal with.

After the training and preparation, the onus is on the workers to comply with the rules of engagement on the ground.

Obviously in the cases highlighted, the workers breached the conditions of their employment and have paid the price as a consequence.

In addition, the villages they represented, have also been shamed by naming them publicly.

The sad aspect of this case is that the offending workers only represent a minority. For many years prior to this case Fijian workers  were highly regarded by New Zealand employers because of their strong work ethics, integrity and friendliness.

That impression has now suffered a big blow and Government has gone into damage control mode.

Government can only do so much. The rest depends on those who have been selected. They need to realise that the future of this scheme continuing depends very much on their performance and conduct.

We are fortunate that the scheme has not been terminated. Other Fijians now have the opportunity to step up and show that we are not like the few who have embarrassed all of us.

Mr Usamate has already given some villages a quota to fulfil. We hope that the villages and their vanua will use all their power and influence to ensure that those picked to go to NZ and work are the right people – people who will respect the law, honour the conditions of their contracts, refrain from engaging in activities that will jeopardise their work, and protect the Fijian brand by not bringing it into disrepute.

And generally speaking, they need to be able to exercise self-discipline and restraint in dealing with temptations to do the wrong thing.

When they return home honourably with savings for their villages and families, they will do the country proud. So much is at stake. They will also ensure that other Fijians will enjoy the same opportunity to go to work in New Zealand.

If we are really proud of ourselves, our families, villages, communities and our nation, we will not do anything to damage our reputation.

 

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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