Government Statement on ILO Visit
Statement from the Attorney General
Fijian Government Welcomes New ILO Visit on Revised Terms
The Fijian government has a policy of openness and transparency to outside scrutiny by organizations such as the International Labour Organisation. We welcome such visits as long as they are conducted by an independent delegation with no predetermined outcomes and a focused agenda.
The ILO delegation in question was not “ejected”, “expelled”, “deported” or forced to depart Fiji in any way. In order to make way for the next ILO visit under the Terms of Reference provided to the ILO delegation on Monday, they were asked to leave at their earliest opportunity. The Terms of Reference are being released separately.
The Fijian Government will be pleased to welcome an ILO visit that will produce an objective evaluation of the issues set out in the Terms of Reference. Such an ILO visit will be welcomed to Fiji if they arrive tomorrow or anytime in the future.
Terms of Reference for ILO Delegation Visit:
TERMS OF REFERENCE
Scope of the Mission
(a) To review the impact of the Essential Industries Decree 2011 ("Decree") on essential industries, in particular –
(i) Whether the aims and objectives of the Decree are in conflict with the fundamental rights of workers and employers in an essential industry;
(ii) Whether workers in an essential industry have been able to collectively organise and form unions;
(iii) Whether workers in an essential industry have been able to reach collective agreements with their employers;
(iv) Whether workers in an essential industry have been able to collectively agree with employers on a fair means of resolving employment disputes;
(v) Whether the workers in an essential industry, in effect, now have better terms and conditions than what was prevalent before.
(b) To assess whether Fiji has adequate laws and processes to effectively investigate, prosecute and adjudicate complaints of assaults, intimidation and harassment by any person, including any trade union official;
(c) To review the terms and conditions applicable for public servants, in particular, whether public servants have the right to form and join trade unions, and whether they are entitled to the fundamental rights and principles at work;
(d) To assess whether public servants have recourse to have their individual grievances addressed by an independent judiciary;
(e) To assess whether unions representing public servants are prevented from negotiating terms and conditions for public servants;
(f) To assess whether trade unions, workers and employers are able to hold meetings and associate, in light of the removal of the Public Emergency Regulations;
(g) To assess whether complaints made against the Fijian Government are with respect to concerns of all workers in Fiji, or whether such complaints are only made by a select few trade unionists for their own personal, political or pecuniary interests;
(h) To genuinely assess the situation of workers and employers in Fiji, without simply heeding to what is being stated by a select few trade unionists (as was done by the Committee of Experts and the Committee on Freedom of Association);
(i) To discuss with Government officials on the various reforms undertaken by Government to preserve and create jobs for workers, to sustain industries essential to Fiji, and to improve living standards of all Fijians; and
(j) To assess Fiji's commitment to ILO Conventions, in light of the recent ratification by Fiji of numerous ILO Conventions.
Schedule of Meetings of the Mission
Instead of just meeting the executives of FTUC, FICTU and FTA, the visit must also meet directly with workers employed in essential industries. In particular, they must meet the workers representatives in industries such as the airline industry (Air Pacific), factory workers representatives, workers employed in financial and banking sectors. They must also meet numerous other trade union officials recommended by Government and the employers, rather than only meeting with the executives of FTUC and FICTU.
The visit must also meet with the employers in essential industries, including Air Pacific, employers in the banking and financial sector (FRCA, ANZ, Westpac, BSP, Bank of Baroda, Bred Bank), telecommunications industry (FBCL, TFL, FINTEL), and the public utilities industry (FEA and WAF).
They must also meet with the Commissioner of Police, Commissioner of FICAC, and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
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