Deep Concerns About New Employment Decree

ESSENTIAL NATIONAL INDUSTRIES (EMPLOYMENT) DECREE 2011.


I have now read the decree and compared it with the 2007 Employment Relations Promulgation, that it supercedes for the 11 "essential" industries.

My preliminary opinion is that the ENIED is
  • Unnecessary if, indeed, its purpose is to protect essential industries
  • Its major concerns are already addressed by the 2007 promulgation
  • It  effectively removes most of the protection offered to workers by the earlier legislation
  • and it is very definitely seeks to undermine the influence of trade unions.

The Decree defines essential industries (Part 1,2 (a)) as those "vital to ... the success of the Fiji national economy or gross national product (GDP) or those in which the Fiji Government has a majority or essential interest."

The 11 chosen are a surprise. All are "tertiary" industries. For the time being the Decree does not directly affect primary or secondary industries, such as sugar, mining, fishing or forestry,  that one might have thought more closely related to increasing GDP. I cannot accept the Attorney-General's blithe assurance that "We've identified various sectors that we believe are critical to economic growth in Fiji," There must be far more to it than that. Quite frankly, the Decree puzzles and disturbs me.

I am sending a draft of what I think at the moment to contacts in Fiji and will await their responses before making a substantial comment.  Meanwhile, I will publish items in the media on the decree and welcome readers' comments.

Comment by ILO published on FLP website.
Comment by ANZ head.

Comments

it is simple said…
It's pretty simple Croz. Union leaders are also current or possible future political candidaes. This removes their day to day funding which removes them as a threat. Nothing can get in the way of Team Frank when the 2014election comes. One way or another Qarase and Chaudry are gone and will not be allowed to particpate. This action removes any unions that might want to participate. Also remember the 2007 bill was the work of the Qarase government and only pushed through when Chaudry was running the show.

Rob
Animal Farm said…
Croz
I tend to agree with you on your comments. Does this latest decree provide a chilling prediction of where Fiji is heading?
What we are witnessing in Fiji is a political system where those controlling the state (unelected)recognize no limits to their authority and appear to be striving to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. Moreover we have all-encompassing propaganda disseminated through a censored and state-controlled mass media, increasing control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech (the PER), surveillance of the people, and widespread use of targeted intimidation as a means of repression. I do not see any of this as being positive for the future of Fiji?
Miaw said…
Kai Yum should go.

Very unpopular AG.
No Jobs in a Double Dip said…
With no small to medium-sized enterprises left (SMEs), Fiji will struggle to create employment for the masses of already non-productive citizenry. Add the coming Global Recession aka Double Dip and there is serious economic implosion looming. No amount of talking this up will suffice. Big Business will see off SMEs. The recent FEF Talk Fest was indicative of where things are heading. The long-term unemployed are a serious risk. Room for manoeuvre is shrinking.
Sad Daze said…
"Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it" and this seems true of what is now happening. Frank has not only given too much power on many fronts to one man, he has also given him absolute control. In the end Frank will get the blame.
yea yea said…
I think you need to be more concerned about how the new constitution is going to be developed and how 'free' and 'fair' the promised elections will be.

This decree is designed remove independant unionists. The likes of Pramod Rae will be no more without the free flow of cash he picks up with his union gig. I doubt bank emloyees will be any worse off. Government does not want any opposition so they have to silence all know players - first church and now cashed up unions.

What really worries me is:

Who will be allowed to fight the next election ?

What will the requirements be for new political parties ?
Lesley said…
What have the Unions actually done for the workers of Fiji over the years? It would be helpful to have a list of the Union's achievements.Perhaps this is a good time for the Unions to also be accountable to their members and even non-members e.g. those who get paid $1.50 per hour cleaning or the house-girls/gardeners who get paid very little because their employer can get away with it - even though the employer could well afford to pay more per hour. The Unions should be jumping up and down about this. Instead they seem more worried about their own comforts and status in Fiji. I would be interested to know what your thoughts are about this.
Kevin Barr said…
Lesley is quite off the mark. Of course Union Leaders and many of us are concerned about the wages received by domestic workers and opther low paid workers who are exploited. They are not unionised nor do they come under the ten Wages Councils unfortunately. There have been plans for a number of years to have them included under a Miscellaneous Wages Council but this has not yet eventuated. The Unions appoint one representative to each of the ten wages councils and those they appoint are excellent and do a great job. The fate of workers not covered by Unions or Wages Councils often comes up in meetings of the Employmnet Relations Advisory Board (ERAB) and the Union Leaders present speak out strongly on their behalf. So venting anger against Unionists is quite misplaced.
Fatima said…
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