Representatives of the FTUC met with Ministry of Employment Productivity and Industrial Relations this morning to deliberate on what measures could be initiated for workers and employers in Fiji during this COVID 19 crisis. The tripartite meeting provided the Workers a platform to share strategies on how best government could help cushion the effects of this Virus.
” We call upon government to strategically devise ways in which jobs can be protected. The FTUC will support any sustainable methods to maintain wages and salaries and workers’ regular entitlements in the cases of restriction of movement, lockdowns or shutdowns. These measures should also include consideration for payment of utilities like water and electricity, loan repayments, rent, etc in order to curb any further social problems leading to a more vulnerable society during this COVID outbreak. These measures are expected to be of a temporary nature. We will not accept job losses. ”
In light of the COVID 19 outbreak in Fiji, “ we also call upon government to consider shutting down our international borders to prevent any more carriers of this virus from abroad. We remind the government that, foremost, it needs to ensure the protection of our international entry and exit points as well as national borders, as people’s health and safety is paramount, said Mr Anthony.
Mr Anthony further stated that the public sector unions are of the view that ” any pay cuts for the public sector should be the last resort. If there is no option, then the reduction must be done on a sliding scale and the accrued amounts must be paid later. We expect that government stance will be reduction of civil servant’s salaries hence our position is that workers below the $30, 000 threshold must not be affected. To devise any strategy regarding pay cuts in the public sector, then Public sector unions must be consulted.”
” We look forward to further discussions with the stakeholders to ensure workers’ safety and that of the general public. “
Read the full statement by the FTUC here: FTUC Submission on COVID-19
Felix Anthony , National Secretary FTUC