Fiji Water staff to get pay increase of 21.7%

May 16, 2024 4:47 pm

In a breakthrough agreement reached after over two days of intense negotiations, Fiji Water staff will receive a 21.7% pay increase.

The negotiations, facilitated by the National Workers Union (NWU), followed a period of industrial action by 168 employees, who had been camping outside the Fiji Water site in Yaqara and Naikabula since last Tuesday.

Fiji Water and the workers union representatives finally reached a significant agreement this morning at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka, bringing the industrial action to an end.

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NWU General Secretary Felix Anthony says that while negotiations could have been cut short, they are happy with the wage increase.

“We have agreed that the workers will be paid a 5% wage increase, effective 1st of January 2023, and another 5% effective 1st of January 2024, and another 5% effective 1st of January 2025. On top of that, we’ve also agreed that their working hours would be reduced from 45 to 42 hours, and that would be without loss of pay. And that itself constitutes a wage increase of 6.7%.”

Anthony states another key outcome of the negotiations is the introduction of a shift allowance of $3.50 per shift for workers.

Additionally, meal allowances will see a substantial increase to $12 per meal, flexible meal breaks, transportation for workers to and from work when they are required to work overtime, and mechanics would also have a wage increase from level 5 to 6.

One of the staff who had taken industrial action, Salote Adi Lala, says they are happy with the outcomes even though it dragged on.

“Oh we really feel excited, we move around, we sang songs, prayed and then had a small devotion.”

In a press statement, Fiji Water say they appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Labor and former magistrate Andrew See in facilitating these negotiations that reached consensus on all outstanding issues.

It goes on to say that they worked collaboratively with the NWU to put this matter behind them and ensure workers can return to their jobs.

The statement adds that Fiji Water takes great pride in being one of the best employers in Fiji, providing among the highest wages and best benefits, and working with our partners and the unions to operate one of the most advanced and safest plants in the world.