Fiji Government To Review All Existing Labor Laws

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Minister tells Parliament Fiji will conform with international standards

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 10, 2014) – All existing labour laws in the country will be reviewed to conform to international labour laws and the Fijian Constitution, Fiji's Minister for Employment Jioji Konrote assured the Fijian Parliament today.

Konrote said the government had made its stance known at the recent International Labour Organisation Governing Body meeting in Geneva where it made a commitment to the ILO it will review all existing laws "to ensure compatibility with the constitution whilst at the same time, ensure the economic well-being of Fijians continues to be protected and enhanced."

He was responding to a question posed by Opposition member Prem Singh who had asked whether the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree will be reviewed, amended or repealed in conformity to ILO conventions that Fiji has ratified.

"The Fijian Govt affirms the same commitment it made to the ILO that it will progressively review all labour laws," Konrote said.

However, he told the house, he was not in a position to give a timeframe of the review "because this would take time through consultation and negotiation." "We can state though that we intend to begin the review process as soon as possible."

Konrote said an MOU was being drawn up by government to this end for the consideration and endorsement of the other Tripartite partners being the employers and the workers' reps.

In their submission to the ILO during its recent visit to Fiji in October this year, the workers' reps' submitted they wanted the decree revoked.

The FTUC said "that it must be revoked due to its serious impact on trade unions, collective bargaining, freedom of association and workers' entitlements."

FICTU also took the same position that the ENID decree was not beneficial to their members and also took the stance that the trade unions should carry out their own elections and not the Elections office as provided under the Electoral Decree.

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) said if the intention of the ENID was to reduce the threat of disruption of economic activity, such as industrial action, the Employment Relations Promulgation had dealt with such matters effectively.

The FCEF had said there was scope for the ENID to be removed.

In their conclusion following the visit to Fiji, the ILO mission was of the view that even with the adjustments, the ENID could not provide a meaningful framework for industrial relations in the country.

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