Fijian workers tackle low wages
UnionAID’s recently completed pilot project in Fiji is starting to unlock real change for hundreds of low-paid garment and manufacturing workers as they find their voice again.
The project’s early survey found few workers were aware of their rights and shockingly many were being paid less than the minimum wage, denied overtime pay or access to sick leave.
Eager to learn more, hundreds of workers attended the education workshops run by project leader Kuini Lutua in their communities.
These covered labour rights, the minimum wage, the role of trade unions and included role plays to show how issues can be raised with employers or collective action taken.
Since the survey and workshops a number of large employers have lifted their wages to at or slightly above the legal minimum and workers in one factory have joined the union and are negotiating their first collective agreement.
A new two-year project funded by UnionAID will seek to build on this with an aim to lift wages across the garment sector and target other industries with poor conditions such as retail, construction and security.