Tikoduadua sheds light on workers’
BY FELIX CHAUDHARY
WORKERS are being forced to file individual disputes instead of going through
provisions provided in collective agreements, says National Federation Party
president Pio Tikoduadua.
He also said “controversial provisions” from the Essential National Industries
(Employment) Decree had been incorporated into Employment Relations
Promulgation and this had made negotiations and grievances difficult between the
Employment Ministry and trades union movements.
He made the comment during discussion on the Consolidated Review Report —
Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations 1227 and Employment 2010-2013 annual
reports this week.
“Workers are compelled to file individual disputes and this is ridiculous,” he said.
“A good example is the recent dispute on the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) saga
where workers were asked to file individual dispute, instead of collective actions by
“It involved over 2000 workers, whose contracts were not renewed.”
Mr Tikoduadua said the reports being discussed were from a period when there was
He said during the last term of Government, the NFP had sought information on the
number of cases before arbitration, employment court, occupational health and
safety issues, compensation cases for injuries sustained to workers and the refusal of
the ministry to sanction or supervise secret ballots.
Mr Tikoduadua said there had been debate on the Essential National Industries
(Employment) Decree where workers’ rights had been severely curtailed from 2011
“The threat of a commission of inquiry by the International Labour Organization
(ILO) following the fears of complaints to it by the trade union movement forced
Government to repeal the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree in
“But the controversial provisions of the decree, nevertheless, were incorporated into
the Employment Relations Promulgations and enacted.
“It was again reviewed and enacted in February 2016.
“The list of essential industries was expanded, the ILO had offered technical
expertise to review this list but the offer has not been taken up by Government.
“Most of the workforce is now classified as essential.
“It, therefore, gives a new and difficult meaning to negotiating and dealing with