Fiji Hotel Strike Declared Unlawful By Labor Ministry

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Minister says striking staff did not notify trade unions registrar

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 1, 2014) – A strike by hotel workers of Sheraton Fiji Resort and Westin Denarau Resort and Spa has been declared unlawful by the Ministry of Labour.

In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Labour Minister Jone Usamate said the strike by the hotel staff breached Section 175 of the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007.

Mr Usamate said Section One of the ERP required that a notice of secret ballot be provided to the Registrar of Trade Unions prior to any strike action.

"The Registrar of Trade Unions today confirmed that he has not received a notice of secret ballot as required under the law," he said.

"For a strike to be lawful, a notice must be served on the Registrar of Trade Unions twenty one (21) days prior to the nominated date to hold the ballot, the confirmed date, time and place to hold the ballot and issues for the strike," he said.

The minister declared the strike unlawful yesterday in accordance with the powers vested in him under Section 180 (1) of the ERP 2007.

He added that his order was being delivered by a special team from the Ministry of Labour to the union, the striking workers and Sheraton.

He also revealed an informal mediation by the acting chief mediator, Tevita Kunatuba, would be activated to diffuse the situation between the parties.

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