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Video of The 2009 Rev Paula Niukula Lecture. 15 April 2009. Marine Studies Lecture Theatre, USP, Suva.


The 2009 Rev Niukula Lecture by Professor Wadan Narsey. For ECREA.
Topic:  Fighting for Just Wages in Fiji.

In 2006, ECREA funded a study by me, eventually published as Just Wages in Fiji, examining the plight of the most vulnerable non-unionised workers in Fiji covered by the 10 Wages Councils.  On the basis of the study, the Wages Councils were reorganized and in 2007, Father Kevin Barr was appointed as the sole Chairman of all the Wages Councils, each of which had the appropriate representatives from employers, workers and Independents appointed by Government.   

This Rev Niukula lecture, in April 2009, was sadly too prophetic for what eventually came of Father Kevin Barr’s fight for the poorest workers in Fiji. After a frustrating five years Father Barr resigned in mid 2012.

In November 2012, Dr Mahendra Reddy (Chairman of Commerce Commission) has been commissioned to do yet another study on the Wages Councils to guide the Ministry of Labour on appropriate minimum wages.  It will be interesting to see what comes of this study.

This lecture outlines the futility of Wages Councils attempting to increase wages in a post-coup environment which has lost investor confidence, economic growth has collapsed, and employers are too powerful a lobby with an unaccountable Military Regime.

Niukula 1      Introduction to lecture

Niukula 2     Rev Niukula the person.

Niukula 3   The ECREA study on Just Wages through Wages Councils in Fiji

Niukula 4   Employers’ interests were protected

Niukula 5    Employers’ responses to risks increased by coups

Niukula 6  The non-accountability of the Military Regime

Niukula 7  The impact of coups on wages

Niukula 8   Just wages and the support of the 2006 coup by “good citizens”

Niukula 9    Rev Niukulas unpopularity with indigenous Fijians

Niulula 10     The future of just wages in Fiji is bleak








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