$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 reached an agreement for a $9.2 million payout to 368 mining workers involved in a 33-year strike.

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

Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Agni Deo Singh, stated that the ministry worked alongside union executives to finalize the payout and settlement through the signed agreement. “The Coalition Government, together with the FTUC and the Fiji Mine Workers Union, have resolved the matter with a total payout of $9.2 million over two years,” the minister said.

Each of the 368 mining workers 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. Singh added that the Prime Minister had prioritized this agenda and that the ministry had met with the affected families earlier this year, reassuring them of the government’s commitment to finding a solution.

FTUC general secretary Felix Anthony expressed relief that a settlement was reached after 33 years. “There is no amount that can compensate for the hardship and pain the mine workers experienced over these years,” he said. “However, this agreement signifies that the Government acknowledges and understands the workers’ plight.”

He also noted that the agreement fulfills a commitment made by the previous government to the International Labour Organization to compensate the workers and resolve the issue. Anthony acknowledged that while more compensation might be desired, this agreement is a significant step forward, with the first payment of $10,000 each to be made in early August.

Sadly, 183 of those workers have passed away, but their families remain. “We are happy with the decision to resolve this matter and will continue to assist these workers moving forward,” Anthony said. He mentioned that housing is a critical issue, as many workers live in company-provided housing, and discussions on resettlement will be held with the company and the government.

Fiji Mine Workers Union president Joseva Sadreu thanked the government, FTUC, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Employment and Industrial Relations for formalizing the agreement. “I praise the Lord for making this a reality after the long, painful strike in Vatukoula. I thank the members for their support and families here,” Sadreu said.

About 12 executive members witnessed the signing. The members will meet on Saturday in Vatukoula.

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