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Editorial: FijiFirst Keeps Promise, Does Right Thing On Hourly Wages

FijiFirst has already started work on something the Party had promised – a review of hourly wage rates. This is being done with the aim of increasing pay, not only
11 Dec 2018 11:32
Editorial: FijiFirst Keeps Promise, Does Right Thing On Hourly Wages

FijiFirst has already started work on something the Party had promised – a review of hourly wage rates.

This is being done with the aim of increasing pay, not only the minimum wage rate, but across the 10 sectoral wages.

Minimum wage rate and $2.68 had become a buzz word during elections.

We saw figures from $4 up to $10 an hour floating around by various political parties. All political parties except FijiFirst had given in their figure to increase the minimum wage rate.

FijiFirst had maintained that hourly wage needed to be reviewed across the sectors and not only with the un­skilled workers, but it be done following wide reaching consultation.

Fiji’s 10 sectoral wages are industries where people are already earning above $2.68 and their individual rates are now being reviewed.

The 10 sectors are:

  1. printing trades;
  2. wholesale & retail trades;
  3. hotel & catering trades;
  4. garment industry;
  5. sawmilling & logging industry;
  6. road transport,
  7. building & civil & electrical engineering trades;
  8. manufacturing industry;
  9. mining & quarrying industry;
  10. and security services.

The icing on the cake is that Government is working with the International Labour Organisation as they un­dertook the review process.

As the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had pointed out during his 2017-2018 budget address, this re­view is much more than just a review of the National Minimum Wage.

He has pointed out that after this review is completed, tens of thousands of Fijians earning hourly rates would stand to benefit from new wage rises.

“Whether you are a bus driver or a garment worker, waitress or a construction worker, or any Fijian earn­ing a set hourly wage in this country, you are part of the engine that drives the Fijian economy and you deserve a fair and responsible review of your wage rate.”

This approach of across the sector review is a far fairer approach compared to the different dictatorial approach of National Federation Party and even of SODELPA.

Government will be using international experts to oversee the review, which will include nationwide con­sultations with both workers and employers, as well as input from the International Labour Organisation.

The 10 sectoral wages will each be examined separately to determine their respective rises.

The review will be led by Parveen Bala, the newly-ap­pointed Minister for Employment, Productivity and In­dustrial Relations.

But what of the unionists? What of those unionists who repeatedly tried to make a mark in politics, but failed? Will they try to discredit this review or will they try to take credit for it?

It is a good move that Government is working with ILO and is not giving the unionists the chance to cry wolf.

JYOTI PRATIBHA

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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