Caption: The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with the Director General of ILO, Guy Ryder witnessing the signing of the tripartite agreement in Geneva.
We obviously welcome the determination of the ILO because a Commission of Inquiry was obviously not in the best interests of Fiji and Fijians.
We have unprecedented and sustained growth rates in the Fijian economy and we must not lose this momentum and must build upon it.
It has led to creation of new jobs, sustained employment and has produced a general improvement in working terms and conditions.
A number of significant reforms have already taken place or are under way such as the introduction of the minimum wage, increase in the FNPF employer contributions and the drafting of new laws to increase the amount payable under workers compensation.
And of course, the situation of a vast many working Fijians has improved with the implementation of free water, free education, free medicine, subsidised electricity rates, free text books, subsidised bus fares and an increase in and introduction of new catergories in social welfare payments.
The Government believes in adhering to international standards. It therefore looks forward – on a tripartite basis through the ERAB mechanism – to the implementation of the core ILO conventions.
Government has also agreed to specific milestones and time frames to be achieved before the November session of the ILO governing body.
There is obviously a lot of focused attention that is required from now until then. We look forward to the cooperation of the social partners (unions and employers) for implementation. The goodwill shown by all sides in Geneva has to be the basis of the tripartite engagement in Fiji to ensure that we, as one team, facilitate further sustained economic growth and an improvement in the wellbeing of all Fijians.