Fiji Time: 2:26 AM on Sunday 11 October

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Labour minister refutes claims, affirms workers rights

Luke Rawalai
Sunday, June 01, 2014

TWENTY-EIGHT per cent of workers in the formal labour sector around the country are affiliated with worker union groups

Speaking during a labour workshop in Labasa on Thursday Minister for Labour Jone Usamate rubbished claims from political campaigners that workers in the country were not allowed to voice their concerns and grievances through union representatives.

He said workers in Fiji were allowed to join unions of their choice.

Mr Usamate added that even workers covered under the National Industries Employment Decree had a right to join any union they wanted to affiliate themselves with.

"Government wants to ensure that any negotiation that takes place between a private industry and the worker is done with the rightful parties concerned," he said.

"Workers in Fiji have and can fully exercise their right of joining the union group of their choice.

"More so unions still have the power to negotiate issues raised by their members."

Mr Usamate also said 78 per cent of workers were not represented by unions.

"These percentages of people are those that come directly to us to lodge their complaints and grievances.

"In the past it was workers who approached the ministry through their unions but this has however changed.

"Currently anybody with any grievance at their workplace can approach the labour office and lodge their grievance."

Mr Usamate has also encouraged workers with grievances to lodge their complaints at their nearest labour office.

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