ERAB Launch Speech Minister For Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations: Honourable Agni Deo Singh

  • February 14, 2023

SALUTATION
 The Officer In charge – ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries,
 The National Secretary of Fiji Trade Union Congress and
 The Chief Executive Officer Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation,
 Permanent Secretaries

Ladies & Gentlemen

It is indeed an honor and privilege for me to be here today to address the newly appointed Employment Relations Advisory Board members. I also welcome all invited stakeholders and guests present this morning.
I must thank the People’s Coalition Government and the Honorable Prime Minister for setting the platform right for tripartism, consultation cooperation, and dialogue and good faith employment relations to be brought back in full force for the people of Fiji.
I must also thank Honorable Attorney General and Minister for justice for his profound vision in appointing our Government representatives to the Employment Relations Advisory Board (ERAB).

Ladies & Gentlemen
I must also thank the Executives of Fiji Trades Union Congress and its affiliates, and the Executives and members of Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation together with our Government representatives for demonstrating their utmost interest in the Employment Relations advisory Board.
I convey my appreciation to all stakeholders for taking your valuable time to attend the launch of the ERAB for the year 2023.

Ladies & Gentlemen

It has been noted in the past that there were many impediments regarding ERAB meetings including the composition of its members and the absence of the consultative process between the tripartite members.
The tripartite board consists of representatives of the Employers, Workers and Government. However, previously the unions and employers were not clearly supported by Government and as a result the consultations and meetings could not be convened as scheduled resulting in many uncalled for and unilateral decisions being made that impinged on the rights of workers and employers, thus giving a bad image to our tripartite process under the Employment Relations Act 2007 both at the local and international forefront. This will change now and as we have to set up a truly tripartite body that will consult all our stakeholders.

Ladies & Gentlemen
As part of the People’s Coalition Government’s commitment on tripartism the previous board’s appointment was revoked and the new appointment of the board members was done in full compliance with the ILO Convention 144 on tripartite consultation.
Let’s all work together to move beyond the barriers of the past and engage in proper consultation and consensus with regards to the conduct of our ERAB meetings to ensure that we put the nation and our people first in every decision we make.

Ladies & Gentlemen
People’s Coalition Government’s is prioritizing all tripartite boards including ERAB and would like to maintain its essence and principles. This is to ensure that the employment related policies and procedures are equitable and inclusive through effective social dialogue, tripartism and good faith employment relations.
Let me also remind everyone that effective social dialogue between government, employers’ and workers’ organizations for sound industrial relations, are the best means to promote social justice, inclusive economic growth, improved wages and working conditions, including improvement of business practice for betterment of employer, workers and the industry.

Ladies & Gentlemen
As part of the consultation process we are working to ensure that the Wages Councils are brought back in its true form to negotiate, discus and provide tripartite process for wage setting in Fiji, I note that previously consultants were hired to impose their recommendation on workers and employers without proper consultation with our tripartite on minimum wages, This will change now and we will provide the platform for wages councils to discuss minimum wage setting in Fiji.

Ladies & Gentlemen
Social dialogue in this context includes all types of negotiations, consultations or simply exchange of information between representatives of government, employers and workers, and other relevant actors on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policies.
It is with great pleasure, that I congratulate the new ERAB board members that have been selected and with your support, we hope for just and fair decisions, consultations and 100% commitment and dedication from the Tripartite.

Once again I thank each and every one of you for your dedication towards the Board and to the Nation as a whole.

I wish you all a very productive and collaborative meeting.

May God bless you all and our beloved Nation.

Vinaka Vakalevu, Dhanyavaad

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