Accidents spark action in Fiji
Union volunteers collecting data in villages around Suva were shocked by poor living conditions of the working families they talked to. They found that low pay, extensive overtime hours, no penal rates or allowances, and delays in bank deposits of wages meant factory workers often turn to moneylenders who are based in the workplace, compounding the problem of poverty.
Long hours and exhausted workers also mean more accidents. After a long twelve hour shift in his fish processing factory, Adriu Dolavi was required to work for another six hours. During this time his knife slipped and gashed his leg badly leading to hospitalisation.
Adriu Dolavi (above) and Litia Tabua, another fish processor with three children, attended our recent workshop in Suva. They told us they got active in the union to argue for better wages and conditions in the workplace. Other recommendations from the 40 participants were for leadership and health and safety training for members. Plans are afoot for our project partner Kuini Lutua to work with the ILO office to establish training courses in response to workers’ requests.