World Day for Decent Work & FTUC $4 National Minimum Wage Campaign

World Day for Decent Work & $4 National Minimum Wage Campaign

On 7th October of every year since 2008 the International Trades Union Congress has been organising the World Day for Decent Work (“WDDW”). It is a day for mobilisation for all trade unions across the globe, from Fiji in the east to Hawaii in the west.  Every year there are hundreds of activities in hundred countries, carried out by millions of people around the globe and on 8th October 2016 the Fiji Trades Union Congress organised the WDDW simultaneously with their $4 National Minimum Wage Campaign with the theme “End Corporate Greed & Decent Work Means Decent Pay”.  The activities were carried out by the affiliated union members across the country from the old capital of Levuka to the capital city of Suva.  Members of the affiliated unions took to the street not only to seek support from the public on the FTUC petition to the government on the $4 National Minimum Wage campaign but also to enlighten the public on worker’s rights, decent work and decent pay.

The day’s activity included setting up information centers at the seven various locations (Suva, Lautoka, Nadi, Nausori, Labasa and Levuka) with the distribution of flyers, posters, book marks and brochure to members of the public.  The members of the public were also informed and explained on the meaning of decent work which involves favourable conditions for work that is productive and delivers a justifiable wage, it also means security in the workplace and social protection for families and equal opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

As stressed in our press release of 8th October the current minimum wage of $2.32 must be reviewed to at least $4 an hour.  The Current Minimum Wage is grossly insufficient and well below the poverty line.  This actually condemns workers to extreme poverty and does nothing to uplift human dignity.  Workers merely want an increase of $13.44 a day and this was expressed in the FTUC campaign which was supported by the International Labour Organisation.  The campaign which began at 9am and ended at 1pm saw volunteers and union members alike joined hands in expressing the need to raise the national minimum wage by wearing a $4 minimum wage t-shirt.  The outreach began from within the city area, though to the markets, bus station and back road where in some towns included residential properties.  The campaign was conducted simultaneously throughout the country and at the end of the day saw a total collection of 7,776 signatures with more signed petitions still to be collected by the FTUC.

Information Centre, Labasa Fiji
Labasa Team , with Satoshi Sasaki (Officer in Charge ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries)

Nausori Team in Action


Fiji Trades Union Congress in Collaboration with International Labour Organisation and all workers around the world mark the “World Day for Decent Work”. Decent work means productive work in which rights are protected, which generates an adequate income, with adequate social protection. It also means sufficient work, in the sense that all should have full access to income-earning opportunities. It marks the high road to economic and social development, a road in which employment, income and social protection can be achieved without compromising workers rights and social standards. Decent work promotes human dignity. In doing so it is based on the ILO Declaration of Fundermental Principles and Rights at Work. The Declaration is a pledge by all member states to respect, promote and realize in good faith the principles and rights relating to:

  • Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
  • The elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour
  • The effective abolition of child labour
  • The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation

The recently adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 193 UN Member States pledges to build a better and just world for all. Goal number 1: is to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere.” Goal Number 8: is “to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”

Fiji is a member of the UN and ILO and is a party to the Declaration and the SDG’s. The Government has an obligation to deliver on both the eradication of poverty and decent work for all. The World Day for Decent Work must serve as a reminder to all including Government of the commitment we have made to the International Community. A just minimum wage is definitely a good start to eradicating poverty and working towards achieving decent work for all. While employment creation is important, the quality of employment created is even more important. Jobs that don’t provide financial security and dignity at work are not worth the effort. Decent Work is achievable only when we have a strong mechanism for social dialogue by Government, Employers and Workers working together in good faith. Tripartite consultations and collective bargaining promotes a positive labour-management relations enviroment which promotes change, innovation and competitiveness.

The Current Minimum Wage is grossly insufficient and well below the poverty line. This actually condems workers to extreme poverty and does nothing to uplift human dignity. The National Employment Scheme (NEC) undermines the minimum wage to $60 a week, without any other benefits. While this scheme is to create some sort of employment for young people, it actually promotes extreme exploitation of workers and is being abused by some employers. Clearly wage rates for workers are in a “race to the bottom.” This trend needs to be reversed if we are at all serious about Decent Work and eradication of poverty.

The current minimum wage of $2.32 must be reviewed upwards to at least $4 an hour. Workers merely want an increase of $13.44 a day. We note that the Parliament has voted themselves an increase of $200 to $400 a day in allowances alone. We also note that this is the second increase for Palimentarians since 2014 when all salaries were raise substanially, ranging from 60% to 300%. In addition to this, Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers of all Government owned Enterprises received massive increases in their salaries and other benefits, in some cases these increases have range from a 100% to 600%. Workers in the meantime received a 32 cents increase an hour in mimimum wage from $2 to $2.32 cents an hour. Civil servants and most workers in the private sectors have had no wage adjustment in the past six to eight years. This is grossly unfair to say the least. The poorest in our society get nothing or peanuts while those at the top award themselves huge increases. There is no justification for such conduct on part of Government and this is an opportune time for Government to act in addressing the inequlity in our society. The gap between the rich and the poor has increased and is evident in Fiji today.

FTUC will be marking the day with a campaign urging the public to sign its petition to Government to demand justice and a fair minimum wage. I invite the public to join the FTUC in its campaign for a decent wage and addressing the serious issue of poverty and inequality in Fiji.

ILO- ACTRAV/FTUC – National Minimum Wage and National Consultation Workshops

The National Minimum Wage and National Consultation Workshops were conducted in five major centers throughout Fiji namely, Nadi, Levuka, Labasa, Lautoka and concluding its final consultation in its capital city Suva on 4th October 2016. These consultations were held between 26th August till 4th October 2016.

The objectives of the consultations were to:

• update on labour law reform
• identify workers issues on industries in regards to current work conditions and practice
• focus on organising and update on collective bargaining
• campaign on FTUC $4 National Minimum Wage
• current status and plans for field activity on World Day for Decent Work which is to be held on 8th October 2016 throughout Fiji

In each of the consultation workshops the participants were divided and allocated into work groups and assigned practical exercises.

The objective of the group excersies were to educate and increase participants understanding of the ERP 2007, this was done through referencing of the Employment Relations Promulgations. The participants also identified and listed current issues and challenges faced by them at their work place in their different organisations and industries.

In one of these consultations Fiji Trades Union Congress National Secretary Mr Secretary Felix Anthony provided a brief background to the participants on how Employment Relations Promulgation came into effect. He also spoke on the Tripartite Agreement which involves representative from the Government, Employers and Workers. In addition he addressed and spoke on the level of intervention and authority from the International labour organization (ILO). The recent amendment of the employment relations promulgation 4/2015 and 11/2016, International Labour Organization standards, convention 87 – freedom of association and protection of the right to organize convention and convention 98 – right to organize and collective bargaining convention. Mr Anthony also spoke on the Decrees particularly the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree 2011 and changes associated with the decree, he stressed that the labour reforms and review processes are done to strengthen enforcement. In conclusion Mr. Anthony strongly emphasized on the need to be continuously organising the organized and unorganized and also the need to follow up on the members. He shared his message on the need to be 100% organized and encouraging union engagement in Fiji and at the work place.

Ms Moushmi Naicker during the consultation workshop in Suva emphasized to the participants their role as union members and as workers not to only support this campaign but create extensive awareness within their workplace, through colleagues, friends and families the important of the campaign. She also added that “Decent work means a Decent Pay”.

The Consultations throughout the country ended on a high note with members being able to understand and know their rights and workers. Being able to reference to the ERP and they were able to identify unfair work practices and more importantly it created awareness on their legal right.