No Invitation to Talks- FTUC

Adapted from Fiji Sun July 09 07 15

The Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) remains defiant that there is nothing to talk about.

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Its national president Daniel Urai was commenting on the public statement made by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama issuing an open invitation to the unions to come to the negotiation table with an open mind with a desire to move the nation forward.

Mr Urai said there was no official invite by the Prime Minister to end the stand-off between the Government and FTUC over labour law reforms. The reforms are in the Employment Relations Promulgation Bill (2015) passed by Parliament yesterday.

Mr Bainimarama said during a break from Parliament yesterday: “We just finished debating a major piece of legislation that concerns them, and all what we’ve been talking about in terms of labour relations. In terms of my open invitation to them, they should have been here, listening to what was being said.”

Mr Urai said: “We haven’t received any invite from him, all we are reading is through the media,” Mr Urai said.

“On the first part in the article he is inviting the unions and secondly in the same article he runs down the union by saying that the union representatives were using their union seats for political gains.

“Is that the way to invite someone, even if it is coming from the Prime Minister, is it how you send an invite,” he said.

He said, if the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, had made it clear that they were in compliance with the core values of the International Labour Organisation than what was the purpose of this invite.

“We all know that the FTUC and the Government signed an agreement in Geneva and it was tabled in Parliament,” he said.

“What we said is that what was tabled was not something that was agreed on.”

He said since there were disagreements, they wrote to the ILO in regards to it and the Attorney-General responded saying they were in compliance with the ILO.

“So if the A-G is saying that they are being compliant with the labour law than what is left there to talk about, what is the purpose of the invite? Mr Urai said.

When asked if they would still go and meet the PM if an official invite was sent to FTUC, Mr Urai said it was unlikely for the invite to come.

“We haven’t got any invite from the PM and I am not sure if he will do so.”