Media Statement in response to AG’s comments on trade unions and the Fiji Times

Media Statement in response to AG’s comments on trade unions and the Fiji Times

It is almost hilarious that the Attorney General should attempt to attack Fiji Times for misreporting but would remain completely silent when other media organizations openly campaign for his Government and political party. Fiji Sun has a daily dose of Government propaganda, similarly the TV stations do the same but it does not seem to raise the AG’s ire until Fiji Times reports the other side of the story. The ATS saga was one example where apart from the Fiji Times, all other media outlets simply chose to side with ATS and the Government until FTUC filed a complaint with the Media Authority who has to date not responded to the complaint. Where was the AG then about fair reporting.

I told the AG that he will not lecture the trade union movement on how to conduct itself in 2015 before we signed the Tripartite Agreement. He knows nothing about trade unions nor does he have any experience at running one or being a member of one. He can try and pretend to know it all. I remind him again. He must learn to respect Unions and their leaders as they are democratically elected by their membership.

Union leaders do not barge into functions where employers decide a bonus for workers to be photographed for political reasons as the AG always does. We fight a good fight and ensure workers are better off and not to be photographed. The AG controls 10 portfolios in this Government and also attempts to be a trade Union leader at the same time by making promises to workers and handing out bonuses hoping that workers would turn away from Unions. That does not work and will not work.

The AG accuses Trade Unionist of acting for political gain. If fighting for the rights of workers is political, then so be it. Unions will have to this time around lobby political parties that a sympathetic to workers cause. That is a normal function of any trade union. If politics is so bad as the AG makes it out to be, then maybe he needs to explain his involvement in it.

The trade Union movement will not be deterred by naïve comments that the AG spews not to convince workers but to confuse them. We remain focused on our struggle to ensure a decent minimum wage, right to collective bargaining, labour law review, our fundamental Part right to strike and justice for workers at ATS and other companies that exploit worker. We will not give up the fight and the sooner that is understood the better we are.

The AG may also want to explain to the people of Fiji as to why Government has hired Qorvis to conduct Government Public Relations and also campaign for the Fiji First Party. Press releases from Qorvis and Grahame Davis is public secret. Why should the tax payers pay Qorvis to strategize and propaganda for Government and Fiji First Party. The AG must explain if he truly believes in transparency and honest and being Godliness as he advertises.

Felix Anthony

National Secretary