PRESS RELEASE- 19/10/18
The FTUC condemns the Minister of Local Governments decision to suspend from duties the General Secretary of the Fiji Local Governments Officers Association Mr. Rohit Karan Singh for raising in the media the Lautoka City Counsils decision not to negotiate with the Union. The Minister also had in response said the Councils will not negotiate with the Unions. This action of the Minister is nothing short of discrimination for legitimate trade union activity and reaffirms FTUC’s claim that we have in place a government that is anti-worker and anti-union.
This action of the Minister is a desperate political decision to instill fear in Council Workers that they dare not speak against the Government. Yet we have him and other Government Ministers going around the country telling people about transparency, accountability and a government that respects Human rights. This is again a clear signal that Fiji has a long way to go to achieve true democracy with this Government where freedom of speech is not tolerated. This comes on the heels of Fiji being elected to the UN Human Rights Council. Fiji must explain its constant efforts to suppress trade union rights and freedom of speech of its citizens. It does not respect nor comply with its international obligations on worker rights. More recently the government denied workers the right to assemble and march in protest for workers’ rights. For too long workers and the general population in this country have been intimidated and actually live in fear of this Government. This includes the business community who are forced to financially contribute to this Governments re-election. Again financial contributions are made for fear of retribution if they don’t. This atrocity on the people of Fiji must stop. Workers demand recognition, rights, freedoms and true democracy.
The FTUC demand that Mr Singh be reinstated to his former position without loss of pay. The Minister must explain his actions and educate himself on the labour laws of Fiji. We ask the Minister to read Section 6 of the Employment Relations Act where it is illegal to discriminate any worker for trade union membership or activity. Government must rule by example and shred its dictatorship and thuggery tendencies.
This is just another reason why workers must think long and hard before choosing the next Government. Any new Government must respect workers rights and their Unions. It is time for people of Fiji to free themselves of this dictatorship.