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Trade Unions ready to meet government for a solution

October 3, 2017 6:27 pm

Trade unions have revealed that they are ready to meet the government in finding a solution for its workers.

Fiji Public Service Association General Secretary, Rajeshwar Singh says they are willing to talk if a fair negotiation is presented.

“Our door is open anytime willing to negotiate – as long as it is a negotiation and not a directive or a listening exercise. Negotiation is between two parties – two parties with equal strength, equal listening exercise and attitude.”

With the unions ready to come on the table, the Employment ministry also say that it is willing to hold discussions.

Employment Minster, Jone Usamate says any action of strike would have a direct impact on Fijians accessing health care and education.

“There will continue to be a strong emphasis to get the parties to meet and try to discuss the issues so that any strike action or lock out is the last resort. We hope the employers and the union can discuss and come up with a win-win solution.”

Fiji Human Right and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Director, Ashwin Raj says they are ready to come on board and help the parties iron out their issues.

“I think it’s significant that given the fact that unions claim that nobody has been listening to them – they have made every effort. I think it’s important that they raise their concerns in an independent neutral space. Where the NHRADC is more than willing to facilitate discussions between Government, Union and the Employment Ministry if necessary.”

The talks about a strike action developed following government’s initiative to put civil servants on contracts, however, the terms of these contracts didn’t settle well with the employees.

Earlier, Minister for Civil Service, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum ruled the action of strike as unlawful and invalid as the secret ballot was rejected by the Registrar of Trade Unions under the employment ministry due to its failure to meet requirements under the Employment Relations Amendment 2015.