The Fiji Trades Union Congress is the largest federation of trade unions in Fiji, representing around 70 per cent of working men and women and their families. The Union was established in 1951, under the great leadership of a prominent union leader of his time, Pundit Ami Chandra. The Union was then known as the Fiji Industrial Workers Congress (“FIWC”). Through his tireless vocation, Pundit Chandra managed to gather several trade union representatives to sign its first resolution with the British Parliamentary Delegation, with one objective which is to “promote and safeguard the interest of the working class generally”. In 1973, FIWC change its name and the Fiji Trades Union Congress was born.
Accomplishment between the 50’s – 70’s
Since its inception, the Fiji Trades Union Congress has championed the workers problems and concerns with the Government and Employers, these included some major strikes namely the mine workers strike in 1955, sugar workers in 1957, oil distribution workers in 1959 and cane farmers in 1960. The strikes reflected the hard times for the workers. The government responded with amongst others the Essential Services (Arbitration) Ordinance in 1954, Wages Council Ordinance in 1957 and the Trade Union Ordinance in 1964, with the introduction of the Trade Unions Ordinance in 1964 (now Act) it became apparent that the Fiji Trades Union Congress represented a majority of registered trade unions in the country and FTUC was recognised as the national representative of all workers in Fiji. This has been our aim and objective over the past six decades, and through this hard effort, many of the benefits is being enjoyed by the employees of this era.
The FTUC seeks to unite democratic Trade Unions, to enable them to Consult and co-operate with each other for the common good in order to achieve their agreed aims and objectives by acting in unison and in accordance with the majority democratic decisions. In addition The FTUC recognises that it is a Trade Union organisation established by workers’ unions that has its objective of all the functions of representing, negotiating and promoting ILO Conventions, Recommendations, Declarations and ILO Decent Work Agenda within the workplace and campaigning for the economic, social, and political rights of its members and their families. It also declares that all workers and the unions which represent them, have certain basic rights which are recognised in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and other International Declarations: Some of these Fundamental Principles and Rights are:
- Elimination of forced and compulsory labour
- Abolition of child labour
- Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining.
The FTUC undertakes to its members that it will:
- uphold and promote the principles of democracy, good governance, accountability and transparency
- champion the cause of peace, human rights including trade union rights, dignity of Labour and the rule of law
- support and pledges solidarity with all working people irrespective of gender, creed, race, ethnic origin, colour, place of origin, sexual orientation, birth, primary language, economic status, age and disability
- oppose and combat totalitarianism and any form of aggression fraternizing with organisations whose aims, objectives, policies and actions are compatible or consistent with those of the FTUC
- Promotion of youth in leadership roles and campaign for greater youth participation in trade unions.
Our Vision towards the future
FTUC can proudly announce that in March of 2015 it administer the review of labour law with the Government and Employers as its tripartite partners, to ensure that the Government of the day has complied with the ILO Core Conventions. The amendments provided workers amongst other things, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (No. 87); and Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (No. 98).
Not only do we stand up for our members rights at work, in addition we have dedicated a lot of effort to ensure all working citizens of this country get a better deal on decent work and pay through our political and community campaigns.
For over 66 years the FTUC has campaigned to make Fiji a better place to live and work, our history is as rich and colorful as the history of Fiji itself, and by bringing together our 13,761 plus members under our umbrella body, we know that we will all be Stronger Together.