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PANG and ECREA Welcome PAFCO Resolution

The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA) welcomes the reported resolution of the PAFCO dispute.

We intend to call for an end to the national and international boycott of PAFCO and Bumble Bee products as soon as the striking workers return to work.

Please see below media articles about resolution of PAFCO dispute.

“PAFCO Dispute Resolved ”
Fiji SUN, September 25, 2003 p.1

The long-standing dispute between the management and the three hundred striking Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) workers finally came to an end at 2am yesterday.

This was after the Company’s management and the Pacific Fishing Company Employees Union (PFCEU) arrived at a consensus after hours of intense negotiations.

The worker’ representative, Senator Felix Anthony, told the FijiSUN that while he couldn’t elaborate fully on the agreement, he could however confirm that all of the grievance raised by the workers had been met.

“We are happy that all the outstanding issues of the workers were agreed to by management, who seemed eager to see an end to this dispute,” he said.

“I gather both the workers and the management will be breathing a little easier now that the impasse is over.”

Mr. Anthony said the commitment shown by the workers played a major role for it showed that they felt genuinely about their grievances. He said that the workers stuck to their regardless of the management’s propaganda during the early stages of the dispute, which proved invaluable. He added that the agreement would now forge the way forward for both the company and the workers to work together as a unit. Meanwhile, PAFCO board chairman Dhansukh Lal Bhika, said that the company was glad that the strike was over and was eager to build stronger relations with the workers in the future.

“Tuna Workers End Protest”
Fiji Times, September 25, 2003 p.3.

The Pacific Fishing Company strike in Levuka has come to an end after the protesters and management reaches an agreement yesterday following eight weeks of industrial strife.

On August 4, 340 members of the PAFCO Employees Union went on a strike which was declared illegal four days later by Labor Minister Kenneth Zinck.

Yesterday, Fiji Trade Union Congress general secretary Felix Anthony said they reached an agreement early Wednesday morning after a marathon meeting which began the day before.

“We have reached an agreement and the 34 workers will resume work at the cannery on Monday. We look forward to forming a new relationship with the company. We are very pleased with the outcome. This afternoon (yesterday) the officers from both parties will sign a formal agreement and seal the deal.”

Mr. Anthony said the union was happy with the agreement as all the workers’ grievances had been addressed.

PAFCO chief executive officer Mitieli Baleivanualala said the official paperwork had not been completed and decline to comment further.

Mr. Zinck, who convened the meeting Levuka, could not be contacted yesterday.

The PAFCO Employees Union initial grievances were:

- The implementation of the GP Lala Award where all skilled workers should receive $3.50 an hour and $2.75 for unskilled workers.

- The reinstatement of all 340 workers with no loss of pay

- Better working conditions and

- The non-payment of FNPF

These grievances were discussed at the two-day talks last week between the PAFCO management, union, and ministry.

The talks ended in a deadlock but resume in Levuka on Tuesday.


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