4 Aug 2015

Safety lacking at Fiji sugar mills, says union

1:49 pm on 4 August 2015

A Fiji union says the Fiji Sugar Corporation is putting profits before safety following two recent accidents at a sugar mill in which one worker died and another fell into a tank of boiling liquid.

One worker is in a stable condition in Lautoka Hospital after he suffered burns at the Rarawai sugar mill in Ba last Thursday while he was cleaning a tank.

The assistant general secretary of the Fiji Sugar and General Workers Union, Mikaele Mataka, says the worker was not properly trained and other staff failed to carry out necessary safety checks including monitoring the temperature of the liquid.

He says another man was killed at work earlier that week and his body was laid out on the floor while work carried on around him.

cut sugar cane 2006

Photo: Ruurmo

Mr Mataka says the accidents show the Corporation has a complete disregard for its employees.

"They just take his body out, put it on the floor and continue with the job. That's how careful they are, they're not really concerned with the welfare of the workers."

Mikaela Mataka says the union has made multiple requests for meetings with the Fiji Sugar Corporation but it has been denied.