WAF workers situation: Conflicting reports of tripartite meeting outcomes

FTUC general secretary Felix Anthony. Picture: FT FILE

THE Fiji Times has received conflicting reports about the outcome of a meeting between Employment Minister Parveen Kumar, the Fiji Trades Union Congress, International Labour Organization and the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation.

In a statement last night, Mr Kumar said the contribution from FTUC national secretary Felix Anthony during the meeting left him deeply concerned “that he was not interested in working with anyone to uphold the interests of Fijian workers”.

FCEF chief executive officer Nesbitt Hazelman said from the employers’ perspective, the meeting had been cordial and a lot of good faith was shown by all participants.

“We believe that there was a strong possibility of reaching an agreement on the outstanding labour law reform issues,” he said.

“Unfortunately, due to the turn of events, we weren’t able to do that.”

Mr Anthony was arrested while at the meeting for allegedly breaching the Public Order Act.

Mr Hazelman said the areas that the meeting focused on were not new, they were related to the implementation report signed in 2016.

“What the meeting was trying to do was put timelines on how we would achieve the outstanding issues.

“We had undertaken to set aside the whole of next week to go through the rest of the reforms.

“We hope that we are able to continue this social dialogue with the partners in an attempt to achieve this.”

ILO Pacific director Donglin Li was also present at the Tripartite meeting.

The Fiji Times could not reach Mr Li for comments.

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