Intervention by National Secretary FTUC at the ILO GB session

Intervention by National Secretary, Mr. Felix Anthony, FTUC at the 323rd Session of the ILO Governing Body Meeting in Geneva

Mr. President,
We have after a very difficult period reached an agreement that lays down a firm path to addressing the concerns of the Fijian Workers, the Committee of Experts and the Governing Body. We recognise that a lot of effort is required on part of the social partners. An enormous amount of goodwill and good faith will also be needed to realise the goals we have set ourselves. To this end, the Workers group in Fiji is fully committed to ensure that we deliver what we have signed.
The ILO Core Conventions will be the guiding rule in all our deliberations. We have set firm deadlines for what needs to be done. We have agreed that the Employment Relations Promulgation, which is the principle labour legislation, shall form the basis of employment relations in Fiji for all workers. We have agreed that there will be a tripartite process that will drive the work plan. We have also agreed on the restoration of Trade Union check off facility. This creates the right environment to commence our work. Mr. President, we intend to meet our Social Partners soon after we return home to commence the work that we have undertaken. No Doubt, workers in Fiji will eagerly await to see the changes and the restoration of their rights in the near future. This is and can be only possible with the continued assistance and oversight of the Governing Body. In this regard we have undertaken to report to the June Session on progress and a review of the decision in November.
In the course of negotiations, difficult decisions have had to be made. We have placed the focus firmly on workers in Fiji and how in the shortest period of time we could restore rights and dignity at the workplace. Questions often arose as to whether what we seek to achieve will be honored by Government and I must admit, at times this got me seriously thinking. However, I am convinced and have been assured by Government
of their desire to act upon the commitments in the Agreement and create a new environment conducive to harmonious labour management relations. I thank the Attorney General of Fiji for reassuring the Governing Body that Government is serious about its obligations in the Agreement and will act upon them in good faith. Mr. President, there can be no progress without hope and commitment. We will persevere. If at the end of day, we are not able to achieve what we have now set out to achieve, we all can say that we made the best efforts possible and that the GB will have absolutely no doubt on the course of action come November. I certainly hope that won’t be necessary.
Mr. President, Finally I would like to place on record the appreciation of the workers of Fiji to the DG, the Office and members of the GB for the advice, support and encouragement offered to us to reach the agreement we have. Without your collective support, this would not be possible. But above all, this case demonstrates that the ILO Supervisory Mechanisms do work.
I thank you for the opportunity to speak.