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Do not be used by trade unions: Economy Minister

April 29, 2019 12:29 pm

Employees who are part of various trade unions in the country have been urged not to be used by leaders who have become irrelevant.

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum took a swipe at union leaders following plans by the Fiji Trades Union Congress to hold a nationwide protest on Friday.

Fiji Trades Union Congress General Secretary Felix Anthony says they are planning to hold a nationwide protest this Friday and a march in Nadi on Saturday.

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“I think we have talked and talked and nothing has eventuated despite all the promises and the agreements that have been signed so it’s time for workers to stand up and to get this government to listen to the workers. They appear to be deaf to the workers of this country.”

 However, Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is calling on ordinary workers not to be swayed by union leaders who are irrelevant.

I also hope that many of the members of the trade unions will recognize that unfortunately for them some of their leaders of their organizations are on a personal path.  This ordinary members who all they want to do is basically have good working conditions and earn a decent living. You know government has been working in that area with civil servant receiving huge pay rises. We have increased maternity leaves, introduced paternity leaves we have brought in family care leave, all this has been brought about without any trade union asking for it.”

The protest has been planned at a time when the eyes of the world will be on Fiji as hosts of the 52nd Asian Development Bank’s Annual Governor’s meeting.

So my appeal to these people, let’s have a successful ADB meeting, don’t use this to undermine our country and the goodwill the government is showing and also to undermine our reputation.”

Meanwhile, Police confirms that they’ve received the permit application from the Fiji Trades Union Congress to carry out a March in Nadi on Saturday.

Chief of Operations ACP Maretino Qiolevu says the application will go through a proper process before a decision is made.

The FTUC General Secretary says they applied for a permit to the Divisional Commander West last week – after the Executive Board met to discuss the issue of the national protest for May 3rd.

He says that at the meeting of its Suva affiliates, it was decided that a march also take place on the 4th of May.

 

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