11 Sep 2008

Fiji union leader critical of call for tourism industry to be listed as essential service

1:37 pm on 11 September 2008

A proposal for Fiji's tourism and aviation sectors to be classed as essential services is facing trade union opposition.

The proposal came from the President of the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association, Dixon Seeto, at the interim Government's mini-economic summit last week.

Mr Seeto says the proposal is not to stop workers from going on strike but to buy time for dispute resolution before the workers take industrial action.

But the general secretary of Fiji's Trades Union Congress, Felix Anthony says essential services are those that are essential to life and says the tourism industry is clearly not one of them.

"If the industry is interested in resolving industrial disputes or averting strike action or industrial action, I believe it should really look at the root causes of the disputes that occur from time to time and attempt to resolve them rather than seeking an easy way out."

Felix Anthony says the current employment relations rules contain enough safeguards to ensure disputes are resolved properly.