26 September 2023

FIJI: Five-year wait for pay rise continues

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Fiji Public Servants have expressed disappointment and anger after the country’s Budget for 2022-2023 failed to provide funds for a pay rise.

General Secretary of the Fiji Public Service Association (FPSA), Rajeshwar Singh said Government workers had been left “high and dry” after expectations they would receive their first salary boost since 2017.

“The lowest salary in the Civil Service bands starts at $F8,849 ($A5,800) per annum and falls in the national minimum wage category,” Mr Singh (pictured) said.

“Our members in the lowest income segment need immediate relief from the unprecedented high cost of living inclusive of goods and services.”

He said the FPSA had made a comprehensive written submission on a pay increase to the Ministry of Economy.

“We stated our case for a salary increase based on issues like spiralling inflationary pressures due to skyrocketing food prices, and transportation costs due to rising fuel prices,” Mr Singh said.

“We didn’t receive anything,” he said.

“The FPSA’s salary claim of 10 per cent and five per cent on graduated scale from 1 July is currently languishing as a dispute in the Arbitration Court.

“Waiting for a hearing is like waiting for eternity.”

Mr Singh said Public Servants were extremely dissatisfied with the treatment they were receiving and the morale in the Service was at its lowest ebb and on a downward trajectory.

In a separate development, the Government announced that the Job Evaluation and Civil Service Remuneration Guideline would be amended to expand the definition of scarce skills.

In a statement, it said the aim was to facilitate the payment of retention allowances for high-performing Public Servants with sought-after skills.

“The Government recognises the high demand for nurses overseas, especially in Australia and New Zealand, which was evident by the high turnover experienced by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services,” the statement said.

“The Ministry of Health will work with the Fiji Nursing Council to identify additional specialised areas of nursing to allow the Ministry to remunerate these specialisations accordingly.”

Suva, 19 July 2022

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