21 Feb 2005

Fiji Employers Federation welcomes bill's emphasis on mediation

4:32 pm on 21 February 2005

The Fiji Employers Federation says the Employment Relations Bill, which will be introduced in Parliament this year, promotes the mediation process over confrontation in industrial disputes.

The Federation's chief executive officer Ken Roberts has welcomed the bill, which combines eight pieces of existing legislation - all of which govern the industrial and employment sectors in the country.

Mr Roberts says the Bill places more of an emphasis on mediation compared to the current disputes settling process which involves the appointment of many committees to handle a single dispute.

"It's very difficult to get a decision out of a trade disputes committe. If they don't reach a decision then the process, the dispute goes automatically to arbitration which means that there's a tremendous background in arbitration. So this process will be changed with the new act to look more at the mediation process."

Ken Roberts says the Bill will allow more dialogue to incorporate other points of view rather than head-on confrontation as has been a feature of trade union scenes.