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Fiji Hotel Workers Win 15% Wage Increase Over 3-Year National Agreement; Court Cases Against Union Withdrawn

The two stories below appeared in Fiji newspapers and are presented here for the fair use interests of readers. The stories do not necessarily reflect the policy or views of the IUF and its affiliates.

Fiji Hotel Workers Win Pay Increase
Fijilive, 29 November 2005 (Source: Pacific Islands Report - PIR)

SUVA, Fiji - Hotel workers in Fiji who are members of the National Union of Hospitality, Catering and Tourism Industries will not go on strike after an agreement with the Fiji Islands Hotels & Tourism Association.

The union and the association settled on a three-year agreement with the 2005 Log of Claims addressing a total wages increase of 15 percent over the period.

Employees are also expected to receive a 5 percent wage increase backdated to January 1, 2005, and receive a further 5 per cent increase from January 1, 2006 and January 1, 2007 respectively.

[PIR editor’s note: While Fijilive does not report what the new rates of pay will be under the agreement, PIR has learned that an employee at the Fiji Mocambo Hotel at Nadi, operated by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, is currently earning FJ$3.25 (US$1.87) after a recently-negotiated 4 percent pay increase. The worker has been employed by the hotel for six years.]

Employers also agreed with the reinstatement of "check off" (deduction of union fees), which was withdrawn after Labor Minister Kenneth Zinck declared the strike unlawful in July this year.

The union for its part agreed to withdraw the service charge imposed on visitors, which was seen to disadvantage to Fiji's price competitiveness in comparison with other tourist destinations.

Fiji Islands Hotels & Tourism Association chairman Patrick Wong and National Union of Hospitality, Catering and Tourism Industries general secretary Timoci Naivaluwaqa signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect.

In a statement Wong stated his delight in resolution of the standoff "and look forward to our partnership with the union".

The strike action was scheduled for December 19.

Pay rise for hotel workers
Fiji Sun, 29 November 2005

Workers in the tourism industry will receive an across-the-board wage increase of five per cent backdated to January this year. A further five per cent wage increase will also be implemented with effect from January1, 2006 and January 1, 2007 respectively. These workers are members of the National Union of Hospitality, Catering and Tourism Industries Employees. The wage increase follows an agreement between the union and the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association that was signed over the weekend.

And the agreement stipulates that the strike notice earlier issued by the union to resorts and hotels be withdrawn. As well, all suspension and warning letters issued to union members on the morning shift on July 23, 2005, will be withdrawn. This is provided that all suspension and warning letters of union members, who were on afternoon and night shift and did not report to work, will remain in force. The deduction of union fees will also be reinstated by all FIHTA hotels from July 22, 2005, according to the agreement. This is subject to written authorisation being received from union members for deductions covering the amount of arrears. FIHTA chairman PatrickWong, in a statement yesterday said in line with the Christmas spirit they resolved the impasse and looked forward to partnership with the union. The industry was vulnerable to potential disruptions and the economic impact it would have on the country. Mr Wong said the union had withdrawn the service charge imposed on visitors, which would result in Fiji being disadvantaged in comparison to the prices of other destinations. The union had initially threatened to go on strike on December 19.