Press Release: 11/2022.
The Fiji Trades Union Congress calls upon Government and in particular the Minister of Economy to recognize and reward our Medical Professionals for the sterling work that they have had to perform during the pandemic. These workers worked very long hours and often away from home to care for those who were infected with COVID. Many sacrifices were made by these workers. Many risked their own health to serve. They were not paid overtime for the excessive hours nor were they paid to stay away from their places of residence. The country owes them great gratitude for their selfless service.
Often, we are critical of our health services, not because of the workers but because of lack of medicine, working equipment and other necessities for an efficient service. It is under these constraints that our medical professionals have to perform, and they do attempt to do their best.
It is also an opportune time to review the working conditions of all our medical workers including their terms and conditions of work including wages and salaries. If we are to retain these skilled workers, we will have to ensure they are paid well and that there is dignity in the work that they do. Recently medical workers in Lautoka were given a choice to join the private medical provider or be relocated to rural areas. This was most unfortunate and a demonstration of total lack of appreciation for the work that they carried out during the pandemic. No compensation was given for the years of service to these workers. It is time that Government acknowledges the service that these workers have given and compensate them for that. In fact, we should be considering hazard pay for front-line workers for these sacrifices, and additional compensation for those that have lost their lives when in service. We note the recent surge in COVID cases and the additional pressure put on these workers to try and deal with these situations again.
We call on the Minister for economy to consider a one-off payment to these workers and also to review their terms and conditions of employment so that they are remunerated rightly, and that they are treated in a humane manner for the critical work that they perform. We from the FTUC say a big Vinaka Vakalevu to these hard-working individuals.