Unionists told to make up their mind on political involvement
13:05 Thu Feb 20, 2014
Taken from/By: FBC News Report by: Christopher Chand
The Fijian government says despite the attention grabbing tactics used by trade unionists the simple fact is that individual unionists have to make up their mind soon whether they want to continue in the unions or resign and take part in politics.
This follows FTUC general secretary Felix Anthony’s recent claims that the government was attempting to shut up the entire trade union movement itself.
Trade unionists like Felix Anthony claim while they are being targeted the government is able to get away with things.
“This Prime Minister is already calling for people to vote for him now why isn’t the media quizzing him? Is there two sets of laws one for trade unionists and the other for the Prime Minister and his colleagues? What are we abut in this country he talks about a level playing field where is the level playing field?”
Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says, as always, trade unionists are deviating from the real issues.
“There is a lot of hot air by these personalities and in fact you can count them on one hand it’s about three or four of them only who are making this noise and I think the Fijian people are a lot more intelligent than that and they will stop falling for a lot of this hoo-ha that they are making and it is as our Prime Minister has said we need to be able to be focused on the issues not fall for the gimmickry not fall for the hoax we need to be focused on the real issues.”
The Political Parties Decree restricts the involvement of unionists in political parties and now the government has indicated strengthening this decree further.
“They are flaunting the law they are not following the spirit of the law that is why it is critical because this law was drafted in good faith if you look at section 14 it does not have an offence provision per say it just says there is a deeming provision that , that trade union official is deemed to have resigned from that position they are not actually following the spirit of the law so obviously there is a need to strengthen the law and the law will be strengthen because there needs to be a demarcation.”
Anthony says they will not bow down to such decrees put out by the government.
“Im going to simply ask him what is he scared about the trade unions for what is he scared about the trade unionists for. Why is he trying shut up the trade union movement? We will not bow down to unjust laws or decrees that this government will impose on the people it’s about our freedom.”
The attorney general says trade unionists are missing the point and that no one is saying we can’t have trade union organizations.
He says the decree simply says the trade union officials cannot take part in politics and be involved with political parties.