Review Of Fiji’s Essential National Industries Decree Questioned

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Review Of Fiji’s Essential National Industries Decree Questioned Main employer group, unions excluded from consultations

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 12, 2015) – Negotiations and consultations over the proposed review of the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree should be handled in an inclusive manner.

"Our position is this — if this goes to a commission of enquiry, this may result in trade barriers and there are larger ramifications for Fiji should it go to this stage," Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation CEO Nesbitt Hazelman said.

Mr Hazelman said the FCEF was in the process of formulating a letter to the International Employers Organisation for assistance.

"We are lobbying the International Employers Organisation to advocate for all employers in Fiji at the governing body in Geneva.

"I have to emphasise that we have been apolitical all this time and have the interest of the country and betterment of businesses and employees at heart."

Mr Hazelman was reacting to a statement issued by Attorney-General Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum on Tuesday saying employer and employee groups that fell under the provisions of the decree had held talks with himself and Employment Minister Jioje Konrote on Monday.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Times reported that ‘The Fiji Trades Union Congress has labelled recent talks organised by the Government for a proposed review of the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree as a "sham". ... FTUC general secretary Felix Anthony questioned why trade unions and the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation were not invited to the consultations which were hosted by the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and Employment Minister Jioje Konrote earlier this week.’ Additionally, it was reported that ‘The country's biggest employers representative organisation says it is disappointed at not being invited to participate in recent consultations for a proposed review of the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree.’]

During the discussions, the A-G said the parties present — which did not include the FCEF or trade union representation — shared experiences under the law and agreed to meet again in three weeks' time.

Mr Hazelman said any consultations on the decree had to include the FCEF because many of his members were captured under the legislation.

He also said trade union representation also had to be included in future talks.

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