In 2016, tropical cyclone Winston almost completely destroyed FSC’s Penang Mill in Rakiraki.
Deemed too costly to rebuild, Penang Mill employees were redeployed to FSC’s two other mills on Viti Levu in Rarawai and Lautoka.
Additionally, to ease the burden of travel, FSC paid bus services to transport these employees to and from Rakiraki, to either mill, on a daily basis.
FSC CEO Graham Clark says “this redundancy process started in April this year. We first advised these employees of our intentions then.
Most welcomed the decision, as the daily travelling had in fact, started to take its toll on them”.
FSC served these employees their 4-month notice in late April, this expired at the end of August.
A provision on Redundancy, within the Employment Relations Act (ERA 2007), states that every Employer must make every effort in finding alternative employment for Employees whose positions are being made redundant.
Of the eighty-two employees being made redundant, three were employed as Clerks, five as Tradesmen and seventy-four were General Workers.
Collectively, their average year of service amounted to eighteen years, with the longest serving staff in the group, having registered thirty-four years of service to the FSC.
In late April, the original number of Penang Mill employees earmarked for redundancy was hundred and four.
However, of this, some have migrated overseas and others, mostly Tradesmen, have opted to remain with FSC, as full-time employees at either Lautoka and Rarawai.
The remainder eighty-two employees have opted for redundancy payouts.
Clark says “during the course of five months, we have held two rounds of discussions with the Penang Mill employees and we have also held discussions with their unions.
This was done to ensure that any concerns or grievance that arose as part of this redundancy process was addressed appropriately”.
FSC acknowledges the collective years of service given by these Penang Mill employees and thanks them sincerely for their dedication and loyalty to the Corporation during their years of service.