World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Action to save jobs in Fiji’s key industry

Media Release
Friday 6 August, 2004

Oxfam calls for swift action to save jobs in Fiji’s key industry

International aid agency Oxfam has today called for the New Zealand government to take urgent action to keep Fiji’s fragile garment industry alive in the face of the imminent loss of crucial trade preference arrangements with Australia.

The call comes in conjunction with the release of Oxfam’s report on the industry, which shows that even though garment industry jobs are poorly paid, they make a vital contribution to the economic well-being and social stability of the island nation.

“Immediate steps must be taken to avert the collapse of this industry, whose wages are a lifeline for about one in five urban Fijians,” said Barry Coates, Oxfam’s Executive Director, who is in Apia this week for meetings around the 35th annual Pacific Islands Forum.

“Given the political will, New Zealand can help avert disaster for this vital industry,” said Coates. He pointed to the newly-formed industry development group Textiles New Zealand as an example of what could be done to assist Fiji.

With help from $2.3m in government funding, trade unions and industry leaders have formed Textiles NZ to find ways to help the New Zealand textiles industry survive in the face of global competition. A similar body could be created for Fiji, with funding and technical assistance from New Zealand and Australia.

Coates also referred to recommendations contained in a consultant’s report recently completed for the governments of Fiji and Australia. Critically, the report recommends that Australia grant Fiji an 11-year extension of its S-TCF preference scheme and also make significant improvements to the scheme to make it more effective in generating business between Australia and Fiji.

Coates commented that New Zealand should look at developing a similar scheme to help keep Fiji’s industry alive while more sustainable solutions were developed.
Oxfam is launching its report simultaneously in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia as well as during the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Samoa.

END

Editor’s notes

1. The end-date for the S-TCF scheme with Australia is December 2004.

2. The Fijian garment industry was completed for Oxfam by development academic, Dr Donovan Storey. The study sets out the history and current status of the industry and warns of its fragility as preferences erode or come to an end.

3. Key findings in the study include:
- Wages from the industry are important to around 80,000 people, mostly living in peri-urban settlements. This is around 20 percent of Fiji’s urban population;
- Significant job losses in the industry would be likely to lead to a social and economic crisis, with flow-on implications for social stability;
- Wages are low and conditions are unsatisfactory, but are generally better than in most developing countries with large-scale garment industries;
- The industry currently has few value-added features, making it highly vulnerable to price competition from counties with even lower wages and worse conditions;
- The industry is at risk of collapse because of the termination or erosion of preference schemes, particularly the Australian extension of SPARTECA (the S-TCF Scheme) and the Multi-Fibre Agreement;
- The industry, the Fijian government, NGOs, Unions and foreign donor governments should work together to develop solutions;
- Australia and New Zealand should use their trade and aid policies to assist the industry to enhance workers’ lives and reduce poverty

www.oxfam.org.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news