20 Oct 2015

Fiji employers say ILO inquiry must be avoided

4:46 pm on 20 October 2015

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation says an International Labour Organisation commission of inquiry into workers' rights must be avoided.

Last week union representatives refused to sign an ILO-required joint implementation report with the government over concerns the government was still restricting the rights of workers.

They are now awaiting an ILO meeting at the end of the month to address their concerns and launch a possible commission of inquiry.

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation did sign the government report.

Its chief executive Nesbit Hazelman says while some issues remain, the government has made enough changes to meet ILO standards.

"The employers will always put the nation first. Any commission of inquiry will have adverse affects on the nation and ultimately workers of which the unions say they represent. The federation has taken the stance that we must continue to talk and that a commission of inquiry is unnecessary at this stage."

Meanwhile former Prime Minister and Leader of the Fiji Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the inability of the government to address concerns over workers' rights could have serious implications for the economy.

"The business community has expressed some concern in this regard and they are naturally anxious that the matter should be settled without having to face a commission of inquiry. The ball rests in the court of the government. They are the ones who are reneging on promises they made to make the legislation here compliant with ILO's core conventions."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs