The Vanuatu Council of Trade Unions (VCTU), has put up some proposals on what it perceives the government should adhere to on the working conditions of workers working in the frontline during the period of crisis Vanuatu is currently facing.
In a letter dated 1st April 2020 and addressed to Commissioner of Labour, Murielle Meltenoven, VCTU president, Loreen Baniuri, said that it is the VCTU’s opinion that the government of Vanuatu must ensure that beginning from the date of the declaration of SOE until such time as the WHO removes its pandemic classifications all front-line public servants such as Police, doctors, nurses, allied staffs, hospital workers, correctional officers, customs and AVL employees in the preparedness program of COVID-19 be adequately compensated by the government with a permanent risk allowance for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Any workers in the formal sector who faces loss of wages must be provided for; payment should ensure eligible employers and employees stay connected while some businesses move into hibernation so that when the economy comes back, these businesses should take back all workers who were laid-off as they remained attached to the business,” Mrs Baniuri stated.
“This package must also assist ‘casual’ employees who have been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months; that they may be altered where a worker receives tax rebates or have access to income support payment and Price control measures must be applied to stop the defrauding of our citizens.”
The VCTU president concluded by saying that Vanuatu is known as the most disaster-prone country in the world and once more it faces another hard time so it is ever more pertinent that ni-Vans know that their government has their back no matter what calamity befalls them.
Some of the points raised by the VCTU have been addressed in the stimulus economic package declared by the caretaker Prime Minister Charlot Salwai this week.