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Wages council to look into needs of local seafarers

Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, February 09, 2013

PLANS are in place to establish a wages council for those on local fishing boats, ships and cruise ships.

Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Jone Usamate revealed this in Lautoka on Thursday.

He revealed there was no proper provision that looked after the needs of local sailors.

"Discussions have been made to establish a wages council for those that sail within Fiji waters.

"Right now, there is still no clear provision for those that sail and we are looking into that.

"And if they are sailors staying within Fiji waters, they also come under the ERP (Employment Relations Promulgation 2007)," Mr Usamate said.

The minister also revealed that the Ministry of Transport was working on a Marine Transport Decree that could also govern local sailors.

One of the issues raised during Mr Usamate's tour of the Western Division was the conditions that local sailors were subjected to while out at sea. Mr Usamate heard that some local sailors were not given contracts after more than a month of employment.

Manager for complaints and resolutions Tomasi Keni said under the ERP, every worker, including sailors, should be given contracts after one month.

"If workers have been working with the company for more than one month, they should be issued a contract. Every worker has the right to demand a contract after this period," he said.


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