$9.2 Million Payout Agreement Reached for Fiji Mine Workers

The Ministry of Employment, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC), and the Fiji Mine Workers have agreed on a $9.2 million payout to 368 mining workers involved in a 33-year strike.

The agreement was signed at the FTUC Lautoka branch located along Marine Drive on Thursday.

Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Agni Deo Singh, stated that the ministry collaborated with union executives to finalize the payout, culminating in the signing of the agreement.

“The Coalition Government, together with the FTUC and the Fiji Mine Workers Union, has reached a resolution providing a total payout of $9.2 million over two years,” the minister said.

“Each of the 368 miners on strike will receive $25,000, with the first $10,000 paid from this Budget and the remaining $15,000 from the 2025-2026 budget.

“The Prime Minister delegated this agenda, and in the first quarter of this year, the ministry revisited and met with the affected families. These families were emotional during the visits, and the team assured them of the coalition government’s commitment to finding a solution as soon as possible.”

Trade union
FTUC General Secretary Felix Anthony said many were relieved that a settlement was reached after 33 years.

“There is no amount that can compensate for the 33 years of hardship and pain the mine workers endured,” he said.

“We recognize that we can never compensate these workers enough, but this agreement gets the Government to understand and acknowledge their plight.”

Anthony noted that the signing also highlighted the previous government’s commitment to the International Labour Organization to compensate these workers and resolve the matter.

“We are grateful to this Government for acting on this. While the workers would want more, you can never fully compensate for these kinds of things. This is a good step forward and brings some closure. The first payment will be made in early August, with each worker receiving $10,000,” he added.

Sadly, 183 of those workers have passed away, but their families remain.

“We’re happy with the decision to resolve this matter. We will continue to assist these workers going forward. One major issue is housing, as many workers live in housing provided by the mines. Resettlement discussions will now be held with the company, and we hope the Government can assist as well,” Anthony said.

Mine workers
Fiji Mine Workers Union President Joseva Sadreu expressed gratitude to the government, FTUC, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Employment and Industrial Relations for facilitating the formalization of the agreement.

“I also praise the Lord for what is finally happening, because God reveals reality and makes things happen. I’m very proud and thankful that something has happened after the long painful strike in Vatukoula. I thank the members for their support and the families here.”

Approximately 12 executive members witnessed the signing for both payouts. The members will meet on Saturday in Vatukoula.

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