Businesses react to crisis

Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation CEO  Nesbitt Hazelman (right) with the Immediate Past President Himen Chandra (centre) and Fiji Business Disaster Risilience Council Vice Chair Leonard Chan during the official handover of the presidency of the MBA4 Climate (Marakech Business Action for Climate) Declaration. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation CEO Nesbitt Hazelman (right) with the Immediate Past President Himen Chandra (centre) and Fiji Business Disaster Risilience Council Vice Chair Leonard Chan during the official handover of the presidency of the MBA4 Climate (Marakech Business Action for Climate) Declaration. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

More than 10 members of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) have ceased their operations while more than 70 businesses have laid off employees or had implemented reduced work hours.

In response to questions, FCEF stated that 40 per cent of members had reached out to the organisation for some form of assistance.

It said the industrial relations and human resource issues which required their advice, business advisory and general business support was a main challenge.

“Some businesses have indicated that they are partially operating while some are working remotely.

“One has to see what is happening around the world in terms of unemployment. It is unprecedented.

“With this pandemic, the global business world is affected and Fiji is no exception and more sectors will be affected significantly.

“Businesses have to make the big and hard decision to lay off employees or reduce hours as the business is confronted with multi-faceted challenges from the global business world and working hard to stay afloat,” stated FCEF.

It said the organisation had shifted its focus to assist its members with business preparedness information.

The organisation, while responding to questions, said assistance was in the form of tools, communication, policy guidance, industrial relations and human resources advice.

According to the federation it had developed a FCEF Employers Guide on Managing your Workplace During COVID-19 with support from ILO-ACT/EMP (the Bureau of Employers Activities).

It stated there were awareness and information sharing on COVID-19 (risks and prevention) to members through emails, social media and a dedicated tab (COVID-19 resources) on the FCEF website had been created.

FCEF had conducted a series of online COVID–19 advisory services on HR and IR matters as well as conducted two call outs to members in its efforts in strengthening the federation’s Fiji Business Disaster Resilience (FBDRC) Council in its role as the private sector co-ordinating mechanism to engage with Government and partners on resilience building, response and recovery activities.

With FBDRC being one of FCEF’s nine councils the federation stated FBDRC started populating a private sector information sheet for preparedness and response.

“This will assist FCEF and Government to identify business focal points from different sectors of businesses,” it stated.

For the FBDRC information sheet FBDRC had conducted a call out to members to provide their point(s) of contact which FCEF could liaise with.

“MSMEs were encouraged to come on board as well.

“FCEF will continue to help and map out key service providers in essential industries to assist with preparedness and response.

“Solidarity in the face of the current crisis being faced can help address some of the impacts. FCEF believes in the continued collaboration and engagement with all stakeholders and government to achieve favourable outcomes for all,” stated the federation.

Another area FCEF was working on was its online training on sexual harassment and workplace discrimination.

The organisation’s IR team was also continuing to provide their normal service on “HR and IR employment and employee” matters which was free of charge.

The federation had also conducted two surveys which was the “input on what business and workers were going through now in relation to COVID-19” and a “COVID-19 survey to understand business situation and challenges because of the on-going crisis of COVID-19”.

According to the federation FCEF in partnership with Business Link Pacific provides business advisory support to businesses.

It said development of business continuity plans (BCP) fully for SMEs was fully subsidised.

More Stories