FIJI NEWS
August 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Following the resignation of Father Kevin Barr,Government has decided that the ten Wages Councils will now be chaired by the deputy chairpersons of the respective Wages Councils.

Minister for Labour, lndustrial Relations and Employment Jone Usamate confirmed this in a statement today.

The Minister said he respected the wish of Father Barr to resign and has accepted his resignation, but said Government will ensure that the rule of law prevails and the good faith process of consultation will not be side tracked but completed with professionalism.

Usamate said that Government fully appreciates and acknowledges the tireless efforts of Father Kevin-Barr and all members of the ten re-constituted Wages Councils on their two 2- year terms of appointments since June 2008.

He confirmed that, in view of the significant numbers of written objections received by the Councils during the objection period against the proposed Wages Regulation Orders (WROs),REGULATION 2 the Wages Councils are required under Section 5a(3) of the ERP "to consider any written representations" and "may make any other inquiries" before submitting the WRO proposals to the Minister with or without amendment.

 Unfortunately, this obligatory phase of due diligence by the Wages Councils have not been done, and the Usamate is still waiting for the recommendations from the Wages Councils.

He said since Father Barr has resigned from his position as the sole chairperson of the Wages Councils, the deputy chairpersons of the respective Wages Councils will now assume the responsibility of reviewing the proposed WROs after considering the objections received from industries and employers, and recommending to him their proposals.

ln this regard, the minister has extended the tenure of all Wages Councils until 31't October 2012 including all its deputy chairpersons to enable them to review their proposed WROs in the context of the submissions made to the Councils.

The minister said that the review of all the proposed WROs by the respective Wages Councils should be completed by mid-September 2O12 to enable him to gazette the final WROs effective from 3l-'t October 2012.

The ministry will implement the final WROs after due process is completed as required under the ERP.

ln addition to the WROs for the ten sectors, Government is also committed to establish for the first time a National Minimum Wage in its commitment to alleviate poverty for all workers as stipulated in the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.

By Reginald Chandar
 

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