Concerns on bias at workplace

Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations assistant minister Alvick Maharaj while opening a World Day for Safety and Health at Work celebration and workshop.Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

Discrimination against workers is one of the issues highlighted by industry stakeholders in Labasa, says Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations assistant Minister Alvick Maharaj.

He said this while recently opening a World Day for Safety and Health at Work celebration and workshop in Suva.

Mr Maharaj said discrimination had always existed in the workplace.

“It’s not directly an occupational health and safety (OHS) related issue, but it’s a workplace-related issue and we as Government, we actually have been working continuously to ensure workers are not discriminated,” he said.

Mr Maharaj cited an example of where pregnant women would often be overlooked when applying for work because employers would baulk at the fact that they would have to pay the woman once she delivered her baby.

“So this kind of discrimination, we are actually trying, tirelessly from the government side, that we actually reduce in the workforce.”

Mr Maharaj said during a workshop in Labasa last week, issues such as monitoring workers’ health, responding to workers’ sicknesses, workplace stress and violence, the implications of lockdowns, addressing the issue of employees refusing to return to work and monitoring the vaccination of workers prior to entering the workplaces were also highlighted.

The event also allowed the relevant stakeholders to meet and share their stories and the implementation of policies during the pandemic.

“We want to hear from the employers and the workers what were some of the guidelines, what are some of the practical scenarios they came up with, what was their own policies that they actually came up with.

“So we are trying to gather this information so that we can actually make a national policy and implement it in order to prevent pandemics negative effects coming to the workplace in the future.”

More Stories