Government resorts to Bully Tactics
Recently the Fijian Teachers Union has been vocal on the conduct of the Ministry of Education and its Minister. Various promotions were questioned which appeared to be unfair. The Ministry staff apparently were uneasy with anyone questioning their actions including their Minister. The Ministry threatened to stop deductions of credit union dues and other welfare deduction to the Union. This prompted the FTA to apologise in the traditional manner to the Minister.
Interestingly, The Ministry officials embarked on a lecture on professional behavior to the Union via an email to the Industrial Officer of FTA. Clearly the email demonstrated the lack of understanding of the demarcation between the role of trade unions and teachers as professionals. Trade Unions are there to defend the rights of their members and in doing so, if it disagrees with the actions of the Minister or his staff, there is nothing wrong. Trade Unions are not there simply to just promote professional advancement but also to stand up for members who feel they have been unfairly treated. The FTA was doing simply that. This unfortunate incident stinks. Clearly the Ministry of Education remains in the dictatorship mode (even after elections) and its actions can only be described as BULLY.
Does this now mean that Teachers Unions will have to tow the line or be victims of threat and bully tactics by the Ministry of Education? We at FTUC say shame on the Ministry and that this is just another demonstration of denial of trade union rights in Fiji.
Felix Anthony National Secretary FTUC