NEWS

Family Care Leave Eyed On Protest Day

A plot is allegedly being hatched on how union members can stay off work on May 3. Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) has designated May 3 as a national day
13 Apr 2019 10:10
Family Care Leave Eyed On Protest Day
FTUC president Daniel Urai (right), general secretary Felix Anthony. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

A plot is allegedly being hatched on how union members can stay off work on May 3.

Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) has designated May 3 as a national day of protest, with or without a permit.

While FTUC general secretary Felix Anthony could not be reached to comment, it is understood the protest is aimed at drawing the attention of the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank at Denarau in Nadi.

It is understood some of the reasons for not going to work that will be used include sickness and family care leave.

The FTUC national strike day is on its annual calendar.

A number of union members from different companies will not turn up to work on May 3, it is understood.

But, some union members have revealed that they have been encouraged to take Family Care Leave in the event the strike notice is disallowed by the Employment Ministry.

Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) chief executive officer Nesbitt Hazelman said he respected the trade unions’ right to protest and raise their concerns.

However, he said, to use something that the Government had given to all workers to be able to look after their sick immediate family members, for any other means other than that, was “irresponsible”.

He said there were pre-conditions to the family care leave and “to use it as a means of protest, I don’t think that’s the right way to use it”.

He added that at the end of the day, employers would also be affected as production dropped.

He said it would also affect the economy.

Who were approached?

Fiji Sun can reveal that Water Authority of Fiji, Air Terminal Services, Telecom Fiji Limited and a few other companies’ employees have been approached not turn up to work.

Questions emailed to Mr Anthony remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

What is at stake?

At least 3000 delegates are expected to arrive in Fiji for the week-long ADB meeting from May 1 to May 5.

It is understood that the protest aims to disrupt the conference.

Fiji will be the first Pacific developing member country to host ADB’s annual meeting.

The meeting is the largest gathering of the bank and a unique opportunity for ADB Governors, Government officials, the private sector, and development partners and experts to discuss critical issues and challenges facing Asia and the Pacific.

The theme of the 2019 Annual Meeting is “Prosperity Through Unity.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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