Fiji Government, Unions, Employers Sign Tripartite Agreement

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Signatories hopeful ‘Spirit of goodwill’ from Geneva will continue

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 1, 2015) – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said he hoped the spirit of goodwill between the Government, unions and employers which resulted in the signing of a tripartite agreement in Geneva last week will continue.

Speaking at the Marist Old Boys Nadi Chapter dinner on Saturday, he said his government remained committed to protecting human, political, civil and socio-economic rights for all Fijians.

"On the Government side, we approached the negotiations in Geneva with goodwill and I'm delighted that the FTUC rose to the occasion," Mr Bainimarama said.

"In reaching an agreement, we not only averted an ILO inquiry which wouldn't have been good for anyone.

"But we also resolved to work together —Government, unions and employers — to move our beloved nation forward.

"We must all ensure employers, unions and the Government remove the old ways of thinking and bring new ideas and methodologies to put into practice because it will be for the betterment of Fiji and all Fijians."

Unions across the country have embraced the Geneva agreement as a huge step forward in industrial relations in the country.

Speaking at the Fiji Public Service Association annual delegates conference in Suva over the weekend, general secretary Rajeshwar Singh said the agreement was the first step to repairing relations.

"It would appear that some progress has been made towards a goal we trade unions have sought and fought for so long," Mr Singh said.

"However, judging from the constant opposition and roadblocks introduced by the Government, we must assume an air of caution until any fruitful results are seen in a tangible manner, in the months ahead.

"If goodwill exists among all parties, then by November 2015, we may have achieved something concrete."

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