23 Oct 2014

NZ union backed charity educates Fiji workers

4:30 pm on 23 October 2014

A charity backed by New Zealand unions is helping Fiji workers learn about their rights as weakened Fiji unions struggle with restrictive decrees.

UnionAid is running a pilot project in Fiji to educate manufacturing workers on their entitlements including how to handle grievances.

The group's executive officer, Michael Naylor, says factors like not being able to pay their union fees through the pay roll has contributed to the growing number of workers not belonging to unions.

Fiji flag

Fiji flag Photo: Free google search image

He says UnionAid is working with the National Union of Factory and Commercial Workers to first help garment workers, who struggle on minimal wages.

"The nitty gritty is going out and visiting those workplaces or visiting people after hours, just talking to them, letting them know their rights, providing them with a phone line they can call for advice and just building that relationship there and that's the fairly core work of the rights based approach to educating people and organising them."

Mr Naylor says it's hoped more workers will join unions as a result of the project.