18 Jul 2006

Fiji Government looking into why so many wage earners below poverty line

8:03 pm on 18 July 2006

The Fiji Minister of Labour, Krishna Datt, says research claiming that real wages in the country have not risen for the past 30 years, is very alarming.

The minister's comments come after a book called "Just Wages for Fiji" by Dr Wadan Narsey has been launched.

The book argues that wages councils, set up by the government some years ago to protect workers not covered by unions or collective agreements, are ineffective and need major restructuring.

Mr Datt says the ministry is looking into the matter.

"I appreciate those comments and i appreciate what has come out of the research. And it callls for some very deep look into where we are heading and where we have come so far. In that regard I have asked my staff to study the book and re-look of the wages councils operations and to see whether what has been said is in line with our own thinking."

But the minister says there are other ideas and the ministry would prefer to improve the existing system rather than change it.