18 Jun 2015

ILO reminds Fiji of its obligations

1:32 pm on 18 June 2015

The International Labour Organisation has reminded the Fiji government that a commission of inquiry into the country's labour practises could be launched if an agreement it signed earlier this year is not fulfilled.

Felix Anthony

Felix Anthony Photo: RNZ

In March, the ILO put off until November any decision on whether an inquiry should be established after the government, the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation and the Fiji Trades Union Congress signed a tripartite agreement to discuss amendments to labour laws.

But talks between the parties have disintegrated, with the government and the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation submitting one progress report to the ILO, and the Fiji Trades Union Congress submitting one on its own.

The FTUC's general secretary, Felix Anthony, says it had serious concerns with the government's report.

"There were parts of the report that were factually incorrect, one, and number two, there were admissions in the report. Quite apart from that, there were no real negotiations between the parties, and the fact the government attempted actually to dictate to the parties as to what we should be doing and what report we ought to be signing."

Mr Anthony says the FTUC is waiting to hear from the government as to when it is prepared to meet and continue talks.

"If they're prepared to meet we expect that there will be genuine discussions in good faith, and that we have a common goal, that is to honour the agreement we have signed in March this year and ensure we restore the rights of workers in this country."

Meanwhile, The Fiji Times reports the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as saying an ILO inquiry could be dangerous as it may pressure other countries to stop trading with Fiji.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says he believes with the amendments that have already taken place, Fiji is now compliant with the core ILO conventions, and there is no point in having a commission of inquiry "for the sake of it".