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Work for the benefit of all Fijians: PM

November 7, 2015 10:47 pm

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called on Union Leaders to work together for the benefit of all Fijians.

Speaking at the 23rd Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Award at the Sheraton Resort in Denarau Nadi last night, Bainimarama said Fiji is a developing nation and it needs to protect it’s economy.

Bainimarama says Fiji is not a developed nation that can afford the luxury of our essential industries and services being disrupted.

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“No one wants Industrial conflict in Fiji. The interests of Fijian workers, trade unionists, employers and the government are one and the same. They need to be in order to grow our economy and enable us to give every Fijian a better deal.”

Bainimarama stresses Fiji cannot allow a small group of people to hold the nation to ransom by misrepresenting our circumstances to the rest of the world.

He says some union leaders have claimed that there are certain restrictions on workers rights – this he says is simply not true.

“Employees under the amendment provisions have the right to choose to join the unions or not. Whether they are in the essential services or not. Employees in all sectors have the right to collective bargaining. Employees have the right to have union dues deducted. The only difference is the those in essential services need to give notice if they wish to go on strike.”

The notice period to go on a strike has been reduced to fourteen days from twenty-eight days. There is a tripartite tribunal that can quickly dispose of matters or disagreements arising out of essential services and sectors.

_"I ask you to imagine a situation where no notice is required from those in the essential services. A situation in which the pilots of Fiji Airways might go on strike 5 minutes before a flight is to take off from LA or about to leave for Singapore. What would it do to the image of the country? What would it do to confidence in our transportation system? What would it do to the economy? Would you have confidence in transporting your exports on Fiji Airways? What would it do to the tourism industry."

The Prime Minister says the focus of his government is to strengthen the rights of ordinary Fijians. He says Fiji is now compliant with the core ILO conventions and should not be subjected to an ILO commission of inquiry.

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