Editorial comment – Work and traditional values

Minister for Employment, Industrial Relations and Productivity Jone Usamate. Picture: FT FILE

THE revelation that health and family issues, workplace harassment, lack of motivation and stress are some of the many reasons that people do not go to work, is interesting.

Well, this is according to the Employment, Industrial Relations and Productivity Minister Jone Usamate.

However, he said traditional obligations also played a big part in the decision to be absent from work.

He spoke at the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation’s Top Executives Conference yesterday. Employers, he said, needed to understand the core reasons people were regularly absent.

He said there was a big problem with NCDs and cardiovascular disease with people dying in their mid-30s.

With 60 per cent of the population being diabetic, he said, this led to all kinds of health problems which could affect people’s ability to come to work. As the minister said yesterday, it is important to understand what people’s priorities are.

A lot of people in Fiji, he said, do not prioritise making money.

They place family, traditional obligations as a priority.

“If you have not analysed this, you will not be able to take the necessary action to deal with it,” he said.

More than 200 senior management and executives from the country’s premier business organisations participated in the three-day conference which ends this evening.

The revelations will no doubt force some rethinking of strategies in the workplace.

It is clear though that we have issues to understand and hopefully this will lay the foundation for an improvement on the work front. For whatever it is worth though, some of the issues raised are understandably prevalent in many work places.

As the minister stressed, there are some workers who do not prioritise making money, instead they place family and traditional obligations as priority.

It does inch out the question of value for the work that we do, opposed to addressing family and traditional values.

Perhaps we should relook at how much importance we are placing on various obligations and balance that with the fact that work is not easy to come by any more.

It just might help us appreciate a lot of things.

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