ILO report scrutinises Fiji union conditions

Fiji ’s industrial relations mechanisms have come under the spotlight yet again in a new International Labour Organisation report.

The Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, released in February addresses several issues that Fiji unions have raised with the ILO.

On the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, the report notes submissions from the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) dated from October 2017 and August 2018.

“The Government has not engaged in good faith to amend the legislation (Employment Relations Act 2016) to bring it into conformity with the Convention, and…the ERAB (Employment Relations Advisory Board) has not held meetings as agreed and has now been shut down without any review of the legislation or legislative amendment,” the ILO report notes.

FTUC’s submissions to the ILO also note restrictions placed on unions to organise demonstrations and hold meetings, and state that resolving disputes has become difficult, if not impossible.

“The Committee notes with concern the allegations of the FTUC that the Government has systematically dismantled tripartism by removing and/or replacing the tripartite representation on a number of bodies (including the ERAB, the Fiji National Provident Fund, the Fiji National University’s Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji, the Air Terminal Service and the Wages Councils) with its own nominees,” the ILO report. The ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations is urging the Fiji Government to take all necessary measures, including the reconvening of the Employment Relations Advisory Board.

The Fiji Trades Union Congress had also raised concerns with the ILO on prohibitions to organise meetings and rallies. “The Committee notes the FTUC’s allegations that permission for union meetings and public gatherings continues to be arbitrarily refused. It once again requests the Government to take the necessary measures to bring section 8 into line with the Convention by fully repealing or amending this provision

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