DEFIANCE CAMPAIGN GAINS MOMENTUM
The latest word on the street is that the defiance campaign started on the morning of 23 August 2011 is gaining momentum. The Torture Watch Team were the first to break the news together with photos. The campaign continues to grow and there are more eye witness accounts of people openly defying the illegal regime.
All the road safety signs with the illegal PM's photo from Suva to Lautoka have been defaced with anti-regime slogans. The military/part time painters have been hard at work painting over the road safety signs and trying their best at hiding the people's anger. The irony within the regime is that the leadership still think they have total control over the people of Fiji however they are wrong.
Two weeks ago we saw leaders for the major Fiji unions overseas rising awareness about the illegal regime's tactic's against workers and workers right in Fiji.
It was an interesting time since we got to see first hand to what lengths the Illegal Attorney General would go just to stay in power and continue spreading lies about the realities in Fiji. As soon as the overseas media blew out the stories about the Fiji union leaders in Australia and New Zealand, the Illegal AG went on the offensive and started attacking Rajeshwar Singh, General Secretary of the FPSA, Felix Anthony, General Secretary of the Fiji Trade Union Congress and Daniel Urai, the President of the Fiji Trade Union Congress.
These attacks were of a personal nature and it was petty and childish of the Illegal AG. We all got to see first hand our he avoided the issues totally and instead tried his best to create a diversion by talking about other issues instead of responding to what was being stated against him.
When the Illegal AG realised that he was not doing too well, he simply used his illegal might and banned all media outlets from publishing any news item from the union leaders. It was that simple and all of a sudden we were not able to hear the unionist and what there were saying from overseas against the misdeeds of the illegal regime.
Thanks to modern methods of communication, we were able to at least use cyber space to get the truth out to the people.
The regime waited for a full week before coming back with its petty response. Were there any surprises? No
We saw the Illegal AG's vindictive response on Friday 29 July 2011 when in a move to dismantle the union movement in the Fiji, he announced another illegal piece of law called a degree and this time it was aimed at the FPSA and the public sector workers and this was reported in the news:
The government has announced that it will no longer deduct the union levy from the civil servants pay who are members of the public sector unions. [Illegal] Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said amendments have been made to the Public Service Act and said this comes into effect from the next pay.
Sayed-Khaiyum said that this is to protect the rights of all civil servants.
He said if anyone wants to join a union it is up to them.
The decision is effective from the next civil service pay on Thursday.
It is obvious and it simply comes down to this one person, the illegal AG playing with thousands of lives in Fiji. He has no regards for human rights, workers right nor any understanding of the law and how it functions in the greater scheme of things.
Unfortunately this time he is in for a shock. Trade unionists are a different breed of people and they will not take this sitting down. History has shown what the trade union movement has achieved around the world and Fiji will be no different.
It is time now that this regime be taught its biggest lesson and it is also time to sort out this Illegal Attorney General.
AN EYE FOR AN EYE IS THE WAY FORWARD.
The FTUC condemns the decision of the Attorney General to cease Union subscription deductions for public sector workers. This is yet another vindictive attack on the Trade Unions by the interim Government and in particular by the AG.
The AG’s reference to the rights enshrined in the Civil Service Act is incorrect and misleading. The rights of workers were enshrined in the 1997 Constitution and the ERP. The Constitution has been abrogated by the AG while the Public Sector Unions and workers have been excluded from the provisions of the ERP.
The Civil Service Act is an administrative piece of legislation and was never intended by Parliament to enshrine workers rights. We have noted the attempts by the AG to misinform the public and his Unions busting campaign. Trade Unions are democratic institutions and are accountable to their membership unlike the current Government who are not accountable to anyone. Therefore we expect the AG to respect this wish and decisions of workers.
Union subscription deductions have been the cornerstone of good industrial relations for decades in Fiji and Internationally. This provision cements the relationship and recognition of Trade Unions and Employers in Industrial Relations. The AG clearly has no understanding and appreciation on such fundamental issues. His claims that the withdrawal of subscription deductions is common worldwide, is false. The fact is, he has no idea what the world’s best practices are in industrial relations.
We note that Employers in Fiji make various other deductions by way of written authority to their employers. To single out Union subscription deductions clearly demonstrates contempt to and discrimination of trade unions. Such decisions of the AG will not deter Trade Unions and will not achieve the desired results that the AG hopes for.
We call on Government to reconsider its decision and adopt a mature attitude to dealing with real issues that confront workers in the public sector.