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Fiji Time: 3:05 AM on Tuesday 22 April

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Workers hold back

Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, February 09, 2013

THERE is still a sense of fear among workers, either unionised or not, when it comes to raising grievances related to industrial matters.

This was the view of the Fiji Local Government Officers Association president Rouhit Karan Singh.

Mr Singh, who was part of a meeting of workers with the Minister for Labour Jone Usamate in Lautoka on Thursday, said workers were afraid they would be victimised and lose their jobs.

Speaking on behalf of municipal council officers, Mr Singh said the trend was that some municipal councils deliberately breached the terms and conditions of employment stipulated in the collective agreement.

"The matters are also not addressed on time as there is a delay approach in resolving which ends up as grievance," he said.

"Some workers do not have proper contract of service and some are offered individual contracts which have less favourable conditions than those in the collective agreements," he added.

Mr Singh said the fundamental rights of workers as per the ERP (Employment Relations Promulgation) 2007 were based on the principles of good faith.

"We have noted that employers display bad faith which results in many employment grievances and dispute."

The association proposed that penalties be imposed on those deliberately breaching the collective agreement.

"It takes time to find remedies for those breaches and it would be appreciated if the process is sped up.

"It is also a concern to note from the sentiments shared by others that the dispute or grievance resolving machinery takes a time frame of two to three years depending on cases," said Mr Singh.