Lautoka,Fiji (Ministry of Information Fiji): The World Occupational Health and Safety Day celebrations to be held this Friday 27th April in Lautoka is an opportunity to acknowledge Fiji’s achievement in its OHS Labour reforms.
From 2006 to date, the Ministry of Labour has tasked itself to reform all outdated labour policies which included progressive health and safety standards.
Ministry permanent secretary Mr Taito Waqa said the promulgation resulted from the repealing of six outdated pieces of labour legislations in 2008. These six outdated pieces of labour legislation were replaced by the Employment Relations Promulgation. The outdated labour legislation included the Employment Act (Cap 92), Wages Council Act (Cap 96), Trade Dispute Act (Cap 97), Trade Unions Act (Cap 96), Trade Unions (Recognition) Act 1988 (Cap 96 A), and the Public Holidays Act (Cap 101).
Mr Waqa said that the Employment Relation Promulgation seeks to repeal and replace labour laws which had become very old and had a political nature of control that existed since Fiji’s colonial era.
"They were replaced with a modern legislation, which provided various labour standards and social protection provisions for workers and also promoted good faith, social dialogue and productivity improvement in workplaces," Mr Waqa said.
"The role of employment relations in Fiji has taken a universal dimension and meaning, brought about by pressures from the global economy.
"Globalisation makes us more vulnerable because it makes us dependent on each other in trade, investment, finance and in the world of employment”.
In line with the above reforms, Fiji has since ratified 35 ILO Conventions of which 32 are in force.
Some of the ratifications made by the Bainimarama Government in 2008 included the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, the Working Condition (Hotel & Restaurant) Convention, the Labour Inspection (seafarers) Convention and the Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention. Other OHS related ILO Conventions and Recommendations that Fiji has ratified and adopted to date include the Safety and Health in Agriculture; Workers Compensation in Agriculture; Nursing Personnel and Underground Work for Women. This year Fiji should also be adopting the List of Occupational Diseases Recommendations.
In 2010 Fiji was also able to ratify the Labour Inspection Convention, the Employment Policy Convention, the Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention and the Tripartite Convention (International Labour Standard) Convention.
The theme for the OHS Day celebration is “Promoting Safety and Health in a Green Economy”. A green economy meant there is a shift in the world to a greener and more sustainable economy.
For further information please contact:
Mr. Iresh Lal
ILO Country Office for South Pacific Island Countries
Tel: +679 3313410