Fiji Trades Union Congress in Collaboration with International Labour Organisation and all workers around the world mark the “World Day for Decent Work”. Decent work means productive work in which rights are protected, which generates an adequate income, with adequate social protection. It also means sufficient work, in the sense that all should have full access to income-earning opportunities. It marks the high road to economic and social development, a road in which employment, income and social protection can be achieved without compromising workers rights and social standards. Decent work promotes human dignity. In doing so it is based on the ILO Declaration of Fundermental Principles and Rights at Work. The Declaration is a pledge by all member states to respect, promote and realize in good faith the principles and rights relating to:

 Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaiining
 The elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour
 The effective abolition of child labour
 The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation

The recently adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 193 UN Member States pledges to build a better and just world for all. Goal number 1: is to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere.” Goal Number 8: is “to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”

Fiji is a member of the UN and ILO and is a party to the Declaration and the SDG’s. The Government has an obligation to deliver on both the eradication of poverty and decent work for all. The World Day for Decent Work must serve as a reminder to all including Government of the commitment we have made to the International Community. A just minimum wage is definitely a good start to eradicating poverty and working towards achieving decent work for all. While employment creation is important, the quality of employment created is even more important. Jobs that don’t provide financial security and dignity at work are not worth the effort. Decent Work is achievable only when we have a strong mechanism for social dialogue by Government, Employers and Workers working together in good faith. Tripartite consultations and collective bargaining promotes a positive labour-management relations enviroment which promotes change, innovation and competitiveness.

The Current Minimum Wage is grossly insufficient and well below the poverty line. This actually condems workers to extreme poverty and does nothing to uplift human dignity. The National Employment Scheme (NEC) undermines the minimum wage to $60 a week, without any other benefits. While this scheme is to create some sort of employment for young people, it actually promotes extreme exploitation of workers and is being abused by some employers. Clearly wage rates for workers are in a “race to the bottom.” This trend needs to be reversed if we are at all serious about Decent Work and eradication of poverty.

The current minimum wage of $2.32 must be reviewed upwards to at least $4 an hour. Workers merely want an increase of $13.44 a day. We note that the Parliament has voted themselves an increase of $200 to $400 a day in allowances alone. We also note that this is the second increase for Palimentarians since 2014 when all salaries were raise substanially, ranging from 60% to 300%. In addition to this, Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers of all Government owned Enterprises received massive increases in their salaries and other benefits, in some cases these increases have range from a 100% to 600%. Workers in the meantime received a 32 cents increase an hour in mimimum wage from $2 to $2.32 cents an hour. Civil servants and most workers in the private sectors have had no wage adjustment in the past six to eight years. This is grossly unfair to say the least. The poorest in our society get nothing or peanuts while those at the top award themselves huge increases. There is no justification for such conduct on part of Government and this is an opportune time for Government to act in addressing the inequlity in our society. The gap between the rich and the poor has increased and is evident in Fiji today.

FTUC will be marking the day with a campaign urging the public to sign its petition to Government to demand justice and a fair minimum wage. I invite the public to join the FTUC in its campaign for a decent wage and addressing the serious issue of poverty and inequality in Fiji.

ILO- ACTRAV/FTUC – National Minimum Wage and National Consultation Workshops

The National Minimum Wage and National Consultation Workshops were conducted in five major centers throughout Fiji namely, Nadi, Levuka, Labasa, Lautoka and concluding its final consultation in its capital city Suva on 4th October 2016. These consultations were held between 26th August till 4th October 2016.

The objectives of the consultations were to:

• update on labour law reform
• identify workers issues on industries in regards to current work conditions and practice
• focus on organising and update on collective bargaining
• campaign on FTUC $4 National Minimum Wage
• current status and plans for field activity on World Day for Decent Work which is to be held on 8th October 2016 throughout Fiji

In each of the consultation workshops the participants were divided and allocated into work groups and assigned practical exercises.

The objective of the group excersies were to educate and increase participants understanding of the ERP 2007, this was done through referencing of the Employment Relations Promulgations. The participants also identified and listed current issues and challenges faced by them at their work place in their different organisations and industries.

In one of these consultations Fiji Trades Union Congress National Secretary Mr Secretary Felix Anthony provided a brief background to the participants on how Employment Relations Promulgation came into effect. He also spoke on the Tripartite Agreement which involves representative from the Government, Employers and Workers. In addition he addressed and spoke on the level of intervention and authority from the International labour organization (ILO). The recent amendment of the employment relations promulgation 4/2015 and 11/2016, International Labour Organization standards, convention 87 – freedom of association and protection of the right to organize convention and convention 98 – right to organize and collective bargaining convention. Mr Anthony also spoke on the Decrees particularly the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree 2011 and changes associated with the decree, he stressed that the labour reforms and review processes are done to strengthen enforcement. In conclusion Mr. Anthony strongly emphasized on the need to be continuously organising the organized and unorganized and also the need to follow up on the members. He shared his message on the need to be 100% organized and encouraging union engagement in Fiji and at the work place.

Ms Moushmi Naicker during the consultation workshop in Suva emphasized to the participants their role as union members and as workers not to only support this campaign but create extensive awareness within their workplace, through colleagues, friends and families the important of the campaign. She also added that “Decent work means a Decent Pay”.

The Consultations throughout the country ended on a high note with members being able to understand and know their rights and workers. Being able to reference to the ERP and they were able to identify unfair work practices and more importantly it created awareness on their legal right.


Gender pay gap persists at 16 per cent as Australia marks Equal Pay Day

8th September 2016 marks Equal Pay Day in Australia—which should probably be renamed Unequal Pay Day. The wages gap between men and women is still a stubbornly high 16.2 per cent. The occasion coincides with John Howard’s much criticised remarks to the Press Club that women will never achieve equal representation in Parliament because ‘they play a significantly greater part of fulfilling the caring role in our communities, which inevitably places some limits on their capacity’. The ACTU has long been campaigning for equal pay and equal rights for women.

Organizing Workers in the Informal Economy – ILO ACTRAV Policy Brief

The aim of this policy brief is to assist workers’ organizations in understanding and tackling the injustices and decent work deficits associated with employment in the informal economy. It provides information and proposes strategies that can be used to organize, protect and promote the rights and interests of informal economy workers.


FTUC National Minimum Wage Campaign gains momentum

The FTUC National Minimum Wage Campaign  for $4 FJD from the current $2-32 FJD  is gaining momentum as   our advertisements promoting awareness has now been aired on various media in Fiji. This initiative has been made  possible through support  from ILO ACTRAV  which allowed much needed  awareness materials to be produced and distributed as a result of  training held on May 4th & 5th in Fiji, cordinated by Ms Jotika Sharma, ILO Specialist on Workers Activities and consultant Bro  Raghwan.

NS FOR organising
National Secretary FTUC speaks at the campaign launch workshop in Nadi

” We need to reach out to the workers in the field,  and  media – especially television, and  radio are the most effective  forms. The current minimum wage is grossly inadequate.” says the National Secretary Mr Felix Anthony. In our ongoing field visits,  workers have brought  to our attention their continued sufferings and inability to put food on the table, coupled by  basic violations of their working rights.

” We are conducting national level consultations with workers on the minimum wage and  we have planned visits to all major towns and centers in Fiji. So far we are pleased with the level of interaction with the workers on this crucial campaign, they are becoming more aware of their right to freedom of association  and  to a fair and just wage.”

Here is the audio version of the promotion of the  minimum wage.

Click on  the  visual material  below for the promotion of the national minimum wage campaign.

The FTUC continues to receive  signatures on a daily basis in support of this national campaign. Forms are available at all union offices and  can be obtained from the FTUC office by emailing or calling on 3315377.


ILO- ACTRAV/FTUC Workshop Promoting Trade Union Education for Workers’ Rights, Organising and Decent Work

Labour education has historically played a vital role in the development of the trade union organisations and promoting union actions and still is an important means for securing workers’ rights and empowerment on issues in the world of work and for organizing in particular. FTUC in collaboration with ILO ACTRAV conducted a 2 day workshop from the 1st to the 2nd August 2016 at the Capricorn Hotel in Nadi, Fiji. The workshop also focused on the role of International Labour Organisation Standards in promoting enabling environment for organizing and labour education and to strengthen capacities of the unions in Fiji for organizing and promoting decent work.

The training programme was aimed to:

(1) Develop educators’ capacities to implement effective education programs;
(2) Develop a trade union education policy; and
(3) Promote communication exchange & networking amongst unions for labour education, organizing and actions for decent work in Fiji.

In Fiji, a number of challenges are still faced by the trade unions, starting with inadequate respect for Tripartite, social dialogue, Freedom of Association (FoA) and Collective Bargaining rights. However, Fiji is currently moving forward in implementing Freedom of Association, workers’ rights, Collective Bargaining and Decent Work, with the current review in labour laws.

Thus there is a need to train trade union leaders, especially Youth and Women, to strengthen their capacities for organizing in representing and negotiating workers interests.











The FTUC Biennial Conference held in Nadi on 7th May 2016 launched a campaign to raise the National Minimum Wage to $4 an hour. While the FTUC is mindful that the $4 Minimum wage will still peg workers below the poverty line, we believe that $4 is a decent starting point to work towards a Minimum Wage that is pegged above the poverty line. The FTUC estimates that the poverty line is around $4.50 an hour. We advocate that annual adjustments must be made to work towards that goal.

The Constitution of Fiji at Chapter 2, Section 33 clearly states “The State must take reasonable measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realization of the right of every person to work and to a just minimum wage.” The current minimum wage of $2.32 is grossly inadequate and condemns workers to extreme poverty. It is not a realistic starting point to progressively ensure a “just Minimum Wage” as the target is too far off and annual inflationary movements will further make it impossible to realize a minimum wage above the poverty line.

The situation is further compounded by the National Employment Center policy on providing employment for young people. The wage guideline set for attaches is $60 per week without any FNPF deductions, overtime payments or any other benefits applicable to these workers all in the name of creating employment. The reality is that in many workplaces, permanent employees are being replaced by these attaches at $60 per week. This has undermined the National Minimum wage and the minimum conditions set out in the Employment Relations Promulgation. What is happening in Fiji is that we are driving the wages downwards, a race to the bottom.

The current minimum wage of $2.32 means a weekly wage of $96.05 after FNPF deductions. Then we need to take 9% off that for VAT. This leaves the worker with $87.41 per week. A conservative 2015 estimate for Basic Needs Poverty Line is around $185.00 per week. This leaves a massive gap of about $97.59 per week. As time goes on, our people get deeper and deeper into poverty and debt, yet we wonder why productivity is still low. It is no secret that happy workers are more productive and it is the right time to address this issue.

The FTUC notes the concerns of employers. We also note that some 15 years ago, the Unions called for minimum wages to be increased to the poverty line through the Wages Councils. We were promptly told by employers that the time was not right. The past Chairperson, Fr. Kevin Barr of the Wages Council also advocated the same and was told the same thing just 6 years ago. We are now again told the time is not right. Well, when will the time be right for workers in Fiji to earn a just Minimum Wage. It appears never.

The FTUC understands the plight of small businesses and is receptive to some concessions for this lot. However it disagrees that bigger businesses hide behind the small businesses to pay poverty wages and claim to be concerned about small businesses. This trick will no longer work. Threats of unemployment rising are mere threats and FTUC is confident that if workers earn more, economic activity will increase, which will in turn create demand and jobs. This will be good for businesses as well. This is good for Government as when people spend more they pay more VAT. Decent work is also about a just wage and conditions of employment and not merely any job.

We recall the promise that the Prime Minister made to the people to create a Just society and that no Fijian will be left behind. So far it’s only the workers who have been left behind and we call on Government to act with some determination to ensure a fair deal for workers. A $4 minimum wage is a good place to start.

Workers Rights Weakened – ITUC Global Index Report

Here’s information on workers right situation in the region adapted from the ITUC webpage.

2016 marks the Worst Year on Record in Most Regions for Attacks on Free Speech and Democracy.

­According to the 2 ITUC Global Rights Index,”  Weakening of workers’ rights in most regions is being aggravated by severe crackdowns on freedom of speech and assembly.


Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions. The ITUC Global Rights Index ranks 141 countries against 97 internationally recognised indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected, in law and in practice.
“We are witnessing the closing of democratic space and an increase in insecurity, fear and intimidation of working people. The speed at which attacks on rights are being forced through, even in democracies with the Finish government’s proposals and the new trade union law in the United Kingdom, shows an alarming trend for working people and their families,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.
“Repression of workers’ rights goes hand in hand with increased government control over freedom of expression, assembly and other fundamental civil liberties, with too many governments seeking to consolidate their own power and frequently doing the bidding of big business, which often sees fundamental rights as incompatible with its quest for profit at any expense.”
The Middle East and North Africa were again the worst region for working people, with the kafala system in the Gulf still enslaving millions of workers. At the other end of the scale, rights in Europe, traditionally the best-performing region in the Index, continue to deteriorate. Despite the obvious failure of austerity policies, many European governments are continuing to undermine workers’ rights. The failure of most European countries to fulfil their obligations to refugees, including the right to work, is making the problem worse.
The International Trade Union Confederation has been collecting data on violations of workers’ rights to trade union membership and collective bargaining around the world for more than 30 years. This is the third year the ITUC has presented its findings through the Global Rights Index, putting a unique and comprehensive spotlight on how government laws and business practices have deteriorated or improved in the last 12 months.
The ten worst countries for working people are Belarus, China, Colombia, Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Qatar, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.
Cambodia, India, Iran and Turkey joined the ranking of the ten worst countries for working people for the first time in 2016. The Cambodian government approved a new Trade Union Law further limiting workers’ ability to negotiate over their working conditions and pay, while police in India regularly use disproportionate violence against workers holding protests with many detained for simply exercising their rights guaranteed in national laws. Iran uses heavy prison sentences against workers for peaceful activities, and Turkey is targeting public servants engaging in legitimate and peaceful union activities, with at least 1,390 public sector workers under investigation. The Turkish government has also become synonymous with attacks on freedom of speech, with ten foreign journalists banned since last October and Turkish journalists facing severe repression including trial and imprisonment on bogus grounds including “national security”.
“All four new additions to the rogues’ gallery of the ten worst countries are clear examples of the combined assault on workers’ rights and other fundamental freedoms,” said Burrow.
In other countries outside the ten worst, conditions worsened in the past year, including in Indonesia, Montenegro and Paraguay. Protests in Indonesia against changes to the minimum wage fixing system were brutally crushed with police using water cannons, tear gas and mass arrests. The Paraguayan government is consistently denying the registration of trade unions, exposing workers to discrimination by employers while bankruptcy laws in Montenegro suspend basic rights laws during bankruptcy proceedings with workers in some 2,363 enterprises affected in the past five years.
The reports key findings include:
 82 countries exclude workers from labour law.
 Over two-thirds of countries have workers who have no right to strike.
 More than half of all countries deny some or all workers collective bargaining.
 Out of 141 countries, the number which deny or constrain free speech and freedom of assembly increased from 41 to 50 with Algeria, Cameroon, the United States and Pakistan joining the list.
 Out of 141 countries, the number in which workers are exposed to physical violence and threats increased by 44 per cent (from 36 to 52) and include Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia and the Ukraine.
 Unionists were murdered in 11 countries, including Chile, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Turkey.
“Working collectively for better wages, rights and conditions makes workers targets of both state security forces and thugs hired by companies,” said Burrow. “This is happening in both the public and private sectors, including in global supply chains, which are a notorious source of exploitation and poverty. Governments need to uphold their obligations under international law through the legal standards they themselves adopt at the International Labour Organization, and ensure that multinational companies based in their country are answerable for all the workers in their international operations at home and abroad. The alternative is yet more impoverishment of working families and further flat lining of the global economy as people struggle just to pay their daily bills, unable to invest in their children’s future or to make even the most modest purchases.”
The 2016 ITUC Global Rights Index rates countries from one to five according to 97 indicators, with an overall score placing countries in one to five rankings.
1. Irregular violations of rights: 13 countries including Germany & Uruguay
2. Repeated violations of rights: 22 countries including Ireland & Japan
3. Regular violations of rights: 41 countries including Australia & Israel
4. Systematic violations of rights: 30 countries including Poland & USA
5. No guarantee of rights: 25 countries including Belarus, China & Nigeria
5+ No guarantee of rights due to breakdown of the rule of law: 10 countries including Burundi, Palestine & Syria,

For more information click on the links below:
Read the report:
Download the
Download the .


” Organizing – the pathway to decent work and social justice ” – Anthony

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. NS FOR organisingA 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.

Singapore’s retirement age

” Singapore does not have compulsory retirement but has a retirement age, like many other countries. The retirement age in Singapore is 62, though the re-employment age will rise from 65 to 67 next year. Workers turning 62 can opt to retire or continue working until the re-employment age ceiling.”

Singapore’s retirement age has to go “at some point”, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at a dialogue at the World Cities Summit yesterday.

It is critical that older workers be seen as assets to be continually invested in, rather than just as add- ons needed because employers cannot find younger workers in a tight labour market, he said.

Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, was speaking at the opening session of the World Cities Summit at Marina Bay Sands.

He outlined key challenges faced by growing cities, such as ageing societies, at the discussion, Towards A Liveable, Sustainable And Resilient Future.

“Older folks are an asset. They have wisdom, experience and they also learn on the job. We have to make this (integrating older workers) part and parcel of the workplace… We have not done it very well in Singapore so far and we have to do much better in this realm,” he said.

His comments were in response to a question by Ambassador-at- large Tommy Koh, who moderated the dialogue between Mr Tharman and the audience of academics, policymakers and industry leaders from across the globe.

Professor Koh asked Mr Tharman if the Singapore Government could abolish compulsory retirement.

“I am 78 years old, I am working full-time and I think many older Singaporeans are like me. They don’t dream of playing golf or lying on a beach. We want to continue to work and contribute to society,” said Prof Koh.

Mr Tharman said Singapore does not have compulsory retirement but has a retirement age, like many other societies. “At some point, this (retirement age) has to go,” he said, adding that older people are assets and they can keep learning even in their 50s or 60s as their brains continue to adapt.

The retirement age in Singapore is 62, though the re-employment age will rise from 65 to 67 next year. Workers turning 62 can opt to retire or continue working until the re-employment age ceiling.

In Parliament this year, Ms Jessica Tan, an MP for East Coast GRC, asked why the Manpower Ministry did not remove the retirement age.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said doing so could actually be worse for workers as it means that companies can terminate their employees’ services earlier.

The other challenge that comes with an ageing population, said Mr Tharman, is healthcare, which has to be humane, affordable and convenient for people.

For instance, studies abroad have shown that less than 20 per cent of the time a person spends visiting a clinic or hospital is spent seeing the doctor, said Mr Tharman. The rest of the time is spent on travelling, queueing and waiting, and this is especially inconvenient for an older person with disability.

Telemedicine then, said Mr Tharman, is a huge opportunity for cities to tap so that seniors at home have peace of mind, knowing they have a nurse or doctor to get advice from.

In closing, Mr Tharman said innovation is going to be a source of inclusivity. “It is not a contradiction to say that we want a highly innovative society and open society as well as an inclusive society.”

Click on link for read further: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/tharman-spores-retirement-age-has-to-go-at-some-point?xtor=EREC-16-1%5bST_Newsletter_AM%5d-20160712-%5bSingapore%27s+retirement+age+has+to+go+at+some+point:+DPM+Tharman%5d&xts=538291