FPSA Response to Media Releases
Wed 20th July 2011
TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN FIJI FPSA AIMS & OBJECTS
The FPSA Constitution provides for the Aims & Objectives of our Association. In short, the main goal is to protect and promote the welfare and interests of its Members through whatever means or channels available. Job security and a stable working environment with just rewards are allied objectives. The Association has always striven for such objectives throughout its long history of serving employees in the Public Sector of the nation. Repeatedly the Members have renewed and solidified those objectives via regularly conducted annual meetings.
In recent times since 2007, the FPSA National Coun cil has taken the initiative to protect its Members from an ongoing ons laught against their rights, e.g. lowering of retirement age, lack of pay upgrades and absence of collective bargaining etc.
However, since 2009, upon the abrogation of the Fiji Constitution, the numerous Decrees issued have further eroded the lot of our Members, the details of which are in the public domain, and against which all avenues of checks and balances, the right for appeal or redress have also been unilaterally removed. Due to these destructive developments, we cannot now approach any forum, be it a Tribunal, the Employer or the Courts in Fiji to find justice. So who do we turn to?
Such unilateral and dictatorial actions by the largest employer in the nation are against the valuable norms of reasonable thinking, the UN Declaration of Human & Rights and several ILO Conventions. The nation is a signatory to them and have pledged to uphold them. Fiji has undertaken to do all possible to uphold these cherished principles, not take actions against them, which are among the legitimate expectations of the workers of this country.
It is in this light, and in face of the draconian Decree #21 of 2011, which blatantly removed our Public Service Members from the protection of the labour laws of Fiji, and under the authority provided by the National Council, that the FPSA Secretariat has
embarked on a campaign to restore the Members rights.
The confirmed authority for such actions is held and strengthened each year by our Annual General Meetings, which have further mandated the National Council to exercise the rights in our Constitution. The June 2011 NC Meeting further resolved to direct the FPSA Secretariat to continue in our legitimate pursuit for the restoration of the rights of Members. Hence our approach to trade union brethren for this purpose.
The foregoing facts will more than adequately counter the suggestions and rumour mill that certain persons are relying on that FPSA Members have not authorized their Officials to embark on a mission to restore their rights. The opposite is true. There have been no approach or request by any financial and legitimate FPSA Member over past several weeks, months and years for the Council to do otherwise. Thus the release from a Govt source that certain FPSA Members have shown concern at the turn of events carries no water.
There have been no calls for the resignation of the General Secretary, and if any, then normal process must be followed. Our Members realize that they cannot run to the Employer for such a purpose. But they hold the options in their own hands to utilize under our Constitution. If a group of such Members, who should rea lize the predicament \they are in, does exist, then it can be safely surmised that they are doing it for a different purpose which is not in support of the larger rank and file membership of our union.
On another subject, five years ago the National Council sanctioned the purchase of a vehicle to replace and older model and which remains the property of the Association and its Members in accordance with our established policies. An official vehicle has been part of the FPSA holdings for over forty years. It is employed in the furtherance of the aims and objectives of the union under strict guidelines and its value and worth is always preserved. The purchase price of the current property was less than half the figure that the Minister has alluded to in his unfounded and weak diatribe against us. It reveals starkly the veracity and credibility of his sources, or perhaps the facts were padded to suit his purpose at the spur of the moment.
Furthermore, the FPSA General Secretary is elected at our AGM and his tenure is held at the whim of the Members. The current incumbent has repeatedly been returned to office for eleven years from 2000 to date. Such facts speak loudly for themselves.
Under true democratic principles all positions in the Association is open to all financial Members to vie for, but not run elsewhere with unfounded complaints.
Wed 20th July 2011