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5pc pay rise

Repeka Nasiko
Friday, November 24, 2017

THE Fiji Sugar Corporation has awarded a 5 per cent pay increase to its staff members despite suffering an operational loss of $39.6 million in its 2017 financial year.

At a press conference after its annual general meeting in Lautoka yesterday, FSC chief executive officer Graham Clark said the pay increase was a way to appreciate workers of FSC.

"Our board was able to approve a 5 per cent cost of living increase for all FSC staff.

"That has been communicated across the organisation and I would like to see that as the first sign of what the new management can do for our people in FSC.

"It has been a long time since they've had an increase and we believe they need it to address the high cost of living."

Mr Clark said after the increase, staff members would then be put under a performance-based system for further increases.

"We look forward to now taking this in to a performance-based system where we will measure their performance going forward. But I think it will be a happier Christmas this year for our staff and we want to have them appreciated and they would continue to be committed to our work."

FSC chairperson Vishnu Mohan highlighted the corporation's performance in 2017 and its forecast for 2018.

"The corporation's share of proceeds in the financial year 2017 was $43 million compared to $58.7m in the previous year," he said.

"The trading loss for the financial year 2017 was $18.5m whilst loss from operations was $39.6m compared to a loss of $7.7m and $26.1 million, respectively for the previous year.

"The operating loss for 2017 was $45m compared with a loss of $53.4m in the previous year which includes a $10.2m impairment loss on capital works in the progress and an adjustment as required by International Financial Reporting Standards for impairment of property, plant and equipment of $24m.

"No impairment adjustment was required for the 2017 financial year."

"The corporation is forecasting a significant reduction in net loss for financial year 2018.

"This is due to improvements in operational factory efficiencies and a rigorous approach to cost control."

He said adverse weather conditions had impacted cane development and subsequently reduced cane production in 2017.

"As a result, our initial target of two million tonnes of cane had to be revised downwards and we finally crushed 1.63 million tonnes of cane for 2017.

"Additionally the prolonged drought has affected the growers planting schedule for next year's crop.

"FSC will be working closely with the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji to ensure we get the most optimal yield possible.

"Cane development remains our most critical area of focus going forward but the adverse impact of the weather in 2017 will impact negatively on our plans to grow our cane supply for 2018."

FSC board member and National Farmers Union general secretary Mahendra Chaudhry said the 5 per cent increase was long overdue.

"They deserve more because of the work that they have to do and because their last pay increase was about five years ago," he said.

"Although the new board has a new plan in place for the sugar industry and for our farmers, only time can tell whether these plans will work.

"They have a huge job ahead of them to turn this industry around.

"The board chairman spoke about the changes that they plan to implement and that is something that only time can tell."

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