Fiji Teachers Union general secretary Mr Agni Deo Singh, Acting Minister for Labour Mr Viliame Naupoto and ILO Director-Office for Pacific Island Countries Mr David Lamotte at the World Day Against Child Labour in Suva.
The Child Labour Unit at the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment has recorded a vast and significant decrease in child labour cases over the past three years across Fiji.
Acting Labour Minister and Minister for Youth and Sports, Viliame Naupoto stated this while speaking to school students and teachers at the World Day Against Child Labour celebrations in Suva today.
Mr Naupoto said the Child Labour Unit received and successfully resolved two cases this year compared to 41 cases received in 2013.
“We can note that we have so far received the following cases of child labour which have been resolved by the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry. In 2011, we received 64 cases out of which 55 were males and 9 females. In 2012, we received 64 cases out of which 24 were males and 40 females,” Mr Naupoto said.
“In 2013, we received 41 cases; 34 males and seven females while in 2014, so far we have received two cases, both males.”
The acting Minister said that from the reduction of child labour cases from 2011 to 2014, it is noted that the Fijian Government’s historic free education initiative and social protections plans with the reforms implemented are bearing fruits.
“The Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) 2007 and the classification of the Hazardous Workplace list which came into effect on 28thMay, 2013 is there to protect our children from any form of child labour.
“The ERP has also set a deterrent in place through heavy fines for those who continue to violate the law by employing children, where for an individual employer or person a fine of $10,000 or two years imprisonment can be imposed by the Employment Tribunal or for a corporation/company a fine not exceeding $50,000,” Mr Naupoto highlighted.
He stressed that children’s time is not for labour and urged all Fijians to strengthen their resolve to say no to and fight against child labour.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Extend social protection: combat child labour!”.