BWI visits Fiji worksite, assures workers of strong support

BWI Deputy President Dietmar Schaefer, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson and Construction Energy Timber Workers Union of Fiji (CETWUF) National Secretary John Alexander on 21 November visited one of the depots of the China Railway No. 5 Engineering Group (CR5EG) in Suva, Fiji and discussed the working conditions of more than 40 union members in the Fiji Road Authority Road (FRA) Improvement Project. 

Union members and employees alike lamented their three-month labour contracts with the company (routinely renewed) despite many of them working in the project since 2019. Alexander explained that the three-month contract scheme is the FRA and CR5EG’s way of avoiding responsibility for the workers’ superannuation (pension), redundancy and holiday payments.

Many workers also claimed that they have to shoulder their own medical expenses unless they are able to secure a “sickness sheet” from the company. Workers complain that they are working 13.5 hours a day. 

Schaefer said that the situation is unacceptable as he underscored the need to ensure the health and safety of workers at the said worksites. 

Assuring the union members of BWI’s continuing solidarity and strong support, Yuson expressed strong support for CETWUF’s efforts to organise workers employed at the CR5EG project. 

Currently, CETWUF is dealing with more than a dozen cases involving union members working at the CR5EG project sites in Suva.