FCEF’s role at national, regional, global level
15 July, 2020, 8:00 pm
Greetings from the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation!
Our hope is that readers, employers and businesses (from MSME’s to large corporates) in the formal and informal sector would hear and learn of the role of FCEF at the national, regional and global level.
The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation is Fiji’s premier employer organisation.
To begin with, FCEF acknowledges the vision of the twenty-one-member organisations that formed the then Fiji Employers Consultative Association (FECA) in 1960.
FCEF exists for our members and with our members support we inclusively work together to advocate for a conducive business environment that provides enabling opportunities for business growth.
At FCEF, we work to create the conditions for our members by influencing the environment in which they do business and by providing services that improve their individual business performance.
FCEF nine councils
Under the FCEF structure, there are nine standing councils where six are industry and sectorial specific while two are focused to serve women and young entrepreneurs. The Women Entrepreneurs Business Council (WEBC) supports the women while the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) serves the young entrepreneurs. After TC Winston, the Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC) was set up with support from the Fiji Government and UNOCHA. FBDRC primarily looks at the role of the private sector during disasters and looks at working at strengthening businesses by providing support so they are resilient and disaster-ready. The FCEF nice councils have their own chairs and vice-chairs and the councils meet monthly beginning in February and the last one in November. FCEF members use this opportunity to discuss sectorial business matters. At the council meetings, the members use this opportunity to network. The aspiring entrepreneurs use this opportunity to discuss innovative ideas among each other.
The work of FCEF; who do we represent?
In FCEF’s capacity as Fiji’s National Private Sector Organization (NPSO), a tripartite partner and being the recognised voice of employers in Fiji by government, trade unions and ILO, the federation is strategically well placed to advocate improvements to the regulatory environment and assisting in developing a lobby agenda for employers of Fiji, particularly during this unprecedented times. FCEF’s role and commitment to development extend beyond contributing to employment, economic growth; and lobbying for amendments on legislation and labour law. FCEF’s dialogue with government ministries / CSOs / education institutes / HR departments / trade associations / local advisory committees among others foster ownership of these strategies. FCEF is the unified voice of employers in Fiji. Our member-driven organisation is a dynamic active group which has been in existence since 1960. Until very recently, the primary role of FCEF has traditionally been labour relations. As businesses evolved to remain viable and relevant, the federation has had to rethink our role for the foreseeable future. FCEF’s prerogative to employers has shifted to sound economic policies and its impact on the labour market, trading opportunities, skill development and lobbying with government and key stakeholders on business sustainability and employment creation.
FCEF representation at regional and global platforms
At the regional and global platforms, FCEF represents Fiji’s private sector and looks at regional trade agreements, climate change financing opportunities, labour mobility, migration, skills gap among other business interests. At these forums, FCEF initiates for collaboration and partnership to support and add value to businesses in Fiji. FCEF is a member of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and Confederationof Asia-Pacific Employers. IOE is the sole representative of business in social and employment policy debates taking place in the ILO, across the UN, G20 and other emerging forums.
The IOE is the largest global private-sector network, representing 50 million businesses in nearly 150 countries. At IOE platforms, FCEF contextualises the Fiji business environment and shares best business practices with our members. CAPE is an Asia-Pacific region grouping which has members from Asia, Iran, Bangladesh,Australia, Nepal among others. At CAPE forums, representatives discuss the global and
Asia-Pacifi c business environments and promote social and economic development for our people. Collectively, we the members discuss business issues and develop a well-co-ordinated common response and strategies to deal with these issues. FCEF is also a member of the Pacifi c Islands Private Sector
Organisation (PIPSO). Being a member of PIPSO enables and fosters the growth of the National Private Sector Organisations in the Pacific to discuss development opportunities for the Pacific business community at various platforms. FCEF as an ILO constituent continues to provide a wide range of specific high-level policy advocacy with relevant stakeholders, high-technical assistance and capacity building support for the large corporations to the MSME’s which FCEF represents. Businesses worldwide are facing variousshocks to their business operations and macro and micro support will be required for the various industries. This crisis has created wavelengths of challenges and specific support will
be required at different phases of this global crisis to minimise risks and to some extent create opportunities. The world of work globally including the Pacific Islands has been profoundly affected
by the global virus pandemic. Fiji’s tourism sector has been adversely affected and the Fiji economy is facing uncertainly as the tourism sector contributes nearly 40 per cent to Fiji’s gross domestic product – about $2 billion and directly or indirectly employs over 150,000 people in various industries. Apart from the tourism sector, employers in Fiji from other sectors have either laid off workers, reduced hours while some have terminated contracts for their employees.
FCEF symposium: “The New Normal” – Fiji’s Economic Recovery
Fiji’s entire business system requires significant support and to ensure rapid responses, FCEF has organised a one-day symposium on Saturday, July 18, 2020. The overarching objective of the symposium is to provide the platform for private sector representatives to discuss the current challenges and also be
able to collectively deliberate on common outcomes to support businesses.
- VICTORIA YEE is the executive officer of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation. The views expressed are her own and not necessarily of this newspaper.