Energy Fiji Limited workers who are members of the Construction, Energy and Timber Workers Union have started holding a strike ballot from today as they say their demands for an increase in their pay, retirement benefit, long service leave, and other working conditions are not being met by the company.
Almost 355 workers across all divisions are members of the union.
EFL has more than 800 workers.
Union National Secretary John Alexander Paul claims from 2021 to 2023, the employer without having any agreement with the union decided to reduce the workers’ base pay salary, took away their retirement benefits, long service leave and other working conditions.
He says when they had taken the matter to the management, they had some understanding and they were supposed to meet sometime next week.
However, Paul says before they could meet, the management operated outside their discussion and issued a press release.
Paul says this is in bad faith and if the workers’ demands are not fulfilled, then the employer will be given a strike letter.
The National Secretary further says it is now time that the government must investigate, discuss things and clean the organization under EFL CEO, Hasmukh Patel's leadership.
Paul also stresses that the members are frustrated at the Kinoya EFL site as they were not allowed to enter the building to sign the ballot papers as it is happening at other EFL sites.
The strike ballot for EFL union members closes next Friday.
We have sought comments from the EFL CEO.
EFL had announced earlier this week that all their staff below management level have received a 5 percent pay rise that will be backdated to 1st January, 2023.
EFL CEO, Hasmukh Patel said with this year’s increase, the total increase in wages from 2015 to 2023 will amount to more than 23 percent compounded.
Patel says they believe in fair and equitable pay and conditions for the entire workforce and have a solid, consistent track record of always being reasonable, accessible, and prepared to negotiate. He says EFL has continuously engaged in fruitful discussions with its 2 unions to ensure harmonious relationship is always maintained.
The CEO says some 57.56 percent of EFL employees are members of the two 2 unions, namely Fiji Electricity Workers Association and the Construction, Energy and Timber Workers Union of Fiji.
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