18 Jul 2006

Restructure wages councils to ensure more just pay for Fiji workers - author

6:29 pm on 18 July 2006

The author of the book Just Wages for Fiji, Dr Wadan Narsey, says wages councils in Fiji are not effective and need to be restructured because real wages have not risen over the past 30 years.

The government some years ago set up the councils for unskilled workers - those not covered by collective agreements, to ensure they got an adequate standard of living.

Dr Narsey says profits earned without fair pay for workers are harmful.

"The wages councils have not been consistently organised. The chairpersons have all been changing, there has been no consistent methodology or criteria laid down for them. They have met very infrequently, and often 2 or 3 years would go by before a new wages regulation order would be issued and gazetted. So in the meantime, the workers' real wages would be declining as they have kept being eroded by the increases in the cost of living."

Dr Narsey says the ministry needs to re-structure the councils which could test employers' claims they cannot pay more.