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Fiji Time: 4:02 AM on Sunday 21 September

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1035 road jobs to go

Nasik Swami
Thursday, November 15, 2012

THE Fiji Roads Authority has started outsourcing roadworks to overseas contractors that will upgrade the nation's roads.

As a result, of the authority's total workforce of 1152, 717 permanent and 318 temporary staff will be made redundant.

In a statement, the FRA said despite being made redundant a lot of these staff members were expected to be re-employed as overseas contractors begin their work in the new year.

"We're giving all the affected workers one month's notice. The new contractors have advised us that they will be inviting applications between now and the end of the year. By the time contractors start, many of our staff will be in line for the new positions," the statement said.

It said the change was part of government's program for a radical upgrade of the quality of Fiji's roads.

"One of the core roles of the overseas contractors will be to pass on their expertise to local workers. We want these reforms to have a lasting effect rather than just being a Band-Aid solution. This also presents a great opportunity for local workers to upgrade their skills."

The breakdown of the FRA's workforce reform are:

* Of the 1152 current staff, 90 permanent staff will be deployed to other ministries and departments;

* 27 contracted staff will continue under their current personal term contract conditions;

* 717 permanent un-established staff will be made redundant and redundancy packages will be offered to them; and

* 318 temporary staff will be made redundant. The FRA said that because they were only employed on a temporary basis, they didn't qualify for redundancy.

The FRA said Cabinet had approved one week of pay for each completed full year of service.

"If workers choose the redundancy package, they are free to get work with the private contractors but will not be able to re-enter government service for two years," it said.

"The foreign contractors will be here for four years with a right of extension for a further one or two years and at the end of that, we would envisage the local contracting firms standing a very good chance of future selection. Building local capacity is a key objective of this current change and Fijian employees should see this as a great opportunity."

Apart from various reforms, the FRA will also be taking over management of all municipal roads and this will result in redundancies in Nadi, Suva and Lautoka.

About 30 workers working at municipal councils in Nadi, 20 in Suva and 12 in Lautoka will be made redundant.

The FRA statement said these workers were free to apply for jobs with the foreign contractors.

"Some of the foreign contractors have advised the FRA that they propose to absorb all staff in some depots for the first three months and a good number of them permanently after that."

Some key staff from other depots would also be offered employment, the FRA statement said.


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