26 September 2023

FIJI: No consultation in review by ‘experts’

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Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for the Pubic Service, Parmesh Chand says his Ministry has engaged a number of short-term experts to review and provide “hands-on advisory assistance in areas pertaining to improving workplace conditions” in the bureaucracy.

The announcement has been met with concern by the main Public Service union, which says it was not consulted beforehand.

Mr Chand (pictured) said the review would also address improving recruitment processes for leadership positions and streamlining grievance and disciplinary processes for fairness and efficiency.

“The experts we have engaged, with years of experience in public sector employment and administration, have been asked to come up with recommendations for further consideration by Government,” Mr Chand said.

“The consultancies are vital and timely as the Government is prepared to listen and take up constructive ideas and proposals for further improvements.”

He said the consultants would be visiting the various Ministries and Public Servants were encouraged to give their views and suggestions.

However, General Secretary of the Fiji Public Service Association, Judith Kotobalavu described the unilateral decision by the Ministry as an “affront and an example of the cavalier attitude of Mr Chand”.

“We request your office to call a meeting of the public sector unions to discuss the review and update the unions on the process and procedures where all parties can be represented,” Ms Kotobalavu said.

“We are also interested to know who the local experts who will review the Civil Service are, and their experience and qualifications.”

In reply Mr Chand said there was no deliberate attempt to deny any opportunity for consultation.

“The work we are doing is not a review, as such we are essentially gathering some baseline information in areas covering workplace environment, career path development and improving internal working, systems and processes,” he said.

Suva, 31 March 2023

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