FIJI Sugar Corporation workers will receive a pay rise of 5 per cent backdated to January 1, 2014.
Making the announcement in Lautoka yesterday, Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama said the pay rise was a reward for the hard work of mill workers.
"The new crushing season starts in a couple of days and I ask you all to put your hearts and souls into making it a success," he said.
"I want to say that all of you thoroughly deserve it. You've earned it.
"It's an acknowledgment of the hard work you put in last season."
Mahendra Lal, an evaporator attendant at the Rarawai sugar mill said the pay rise provided a much needed boost for mill workers.
"Some of the work that we do and the long hours that we put in sometimes do not go together," he said.
"So this is a welcome change and we are grateful that our leaders are recognising the kind of work that we do."
With 30 years' experience, Mr Lal said conditions for a mill worker had been tough.
"It's not an easy job to do. We have to make sure that all the equipment's is in working order and that everything goes smoothly during crushing season."
Penang sugar mill worker Vasukiwai Vacolo said he was delighted with the announcement made by the Prime Minister.
"It's a good morale booster for everyone," he said.
"We're all looking forward to the new crushing season and we'll be working long hours but with this pay increase it will give everyone incentive to work harder."
According to the corporation, the Rarawai mill will open on June 19 while the Penang sugar mill will start crushing on June 27. The Lautoka sugar mill is expected to begin crushing sugar cane in July.