The Fiji Trades Union Congress continues its intensive campaign on organizing workers into unions to promote Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining as the means to achieve decent work and social justice. A Training of Trainers for Union Organizers was conducted on 3rd to 4th of August 2016 at the Capricorn International Hotel, Nadi supported by ILO ACTRAV for FTUC to continue to strengthen its institutions.Selected members who are lead organisers in their respective unions were trained on effective organizing skills, the labour law promoting freedom of association, basic minimum terms and conditions of employment and dispute and grievance procedures as stipulated in the ERP,to name a few.
The ILO Workers Specialist for the Pacific, Ms Jotika Sharma emphasized on the need for organizers to be prepared with adequate and up-to date information on the laws pertaining to and securing the right of workers to join union and to engage in collective bargaining. She further elaborated on the Fiji laws that an organiser must be aware of to encourage workers to join unions and how these could be utlized by workers themselves to deal with issues at the workplace that were in direct contravention with ILO Conventions 87 & 98 and the ERP 2007. Bro Raghwan, a retired Workers Specialist and now practicing as a IR Consultant discussed how the Fiji case unfolded within the ILO supervisory mechanisms and the outcome of the decisions of the Committee on Application of Standards (CAS) and Committee of Experts on Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR).
The participants also built on their skills on effective organizing techniques, and how to efficiently deal with challenges faced in the field. Good practices were shared by representatives from the NUFCW, NUHCTIE, FMWA and NUW. The 2 day program also focused on developing user friendly education materials to promote Freedom of Association and it was concluded that issues based approach was the ideal way forward.
The training concluded with the National Secretary Bro Felix Anthony encouraging the organizers to focus on the vulnerable workers where decent working conditions were far from reach. He further mentioned that unions needed to invest resources to increase membership and resources to protect and maintain the membership. He emphasized that organizing was the only pathway to achieving decent work and social justice for workers.
The participants submitted their draft work plans and education material templates that will be used by the network to promote organizing in the field in the next months. They will be assisted by the FTUC to implement their plans within the sectors identified in the planning meeting on Friday the 5th of August. A video promoting the Right to Organise and The Minimum wage campaign was launched at the workshop.