Green light for secret ballot given

Staff members of Energy Fiji Limited (EFL) with the Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during an announcement of their $1.9 million payout. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT/FACEBOOK

ABOUT 300 Energy Fiji Ltd staff members have given the Construction Energy and Timber Workers Union of Fiji (CETWUF) the green light to hold a secret ballot for industrial action.

Union secretary John Paul said EFL workers had been waiting since 2015 for the EFL management to agree to terms and conditions that had existed before the Essential National Industries Decree was enforced in 2011.

“They have been patiently waiting for more than four years now and they have told me that enough is enough,” Mr Paul said.

“They have given me the mandate to inform the Registrar of Trade Unions, who is also the permanent secretary for (Ministry of) Employment and Industrial Relations and we are in the process of doing that as we speak.

“We do not want anything new, we just want what had pre-existed before the ENI Decree was enforced in 2011 to be reinstated, now that the decree has been repealed.

“We have had countless meetings with EFL management and even got them to sign an agreement — Compulsory Conference between CETWUF and EFL which they have not complied with.

“This was signed by EFL acting CEO Bobby Naimawi and acting general manager human resources Randhir Charan for the company, and witnessed by then Employment and Industrial Relations Minister Jone Usamate and mediator Tomasi Keni.”

In response to queries from this newspaper about the claims made by Mr Paul, EFL CEO Hasmukh Patel said negotiations were ongoing between both parties.

“EFL has been negotiating with CETWUF over their log of claims for some time now,” he said.

“Many claims have been negotiated and agreed upon. “However, there are some claims that EFL does not agree to.

“As a result the ‘un-agreed claims’ are going through the established process (Ministerial Conference or Arbitration Court) with the intention to resolve them.”

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