Mar 22, 2007

Our National Protest

We are on the brink of the most amazing national protest in the form of a national strike by the workers of this country. Workers that form the backbone of this nation, and that are always the ones to suffer first and most when selfish , opinionated people like the current goblins in green rape, pillage and bully their way through our nation, trample on our sovereignty, and take away our dignity and self-worth. 

Fiji must unite and say no to tyranny.

We the workers are faced with the threat from the military to the strikers - "we will stop you". Answer this you bullies : how are you going to stop 20,000 workers from not going to work ?

We have news for you - the day the nation decides to protest en mass will be the day the power returns to the people.

The following latest news at your leisure follows :
Deposed Fiji cabinet minister may sue after being interrogated by military for a third timeRadio New Zealand International
Posted at 07:18 on 22 March, 2007 UTC

A cabinet minister in the deposed Fiji government says he’s considering legal action after armed soldiers took him to the military barracks and interrogated him for the third time since the coup.

Six soldiers picked the former Labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, up from his home at 4pm on Wednesday after comments he had made on TV as a union representative.

This followed an order by the Suva High Court for the Revenue and Customs Authority to re-instate its staff’s pay after a five-percent cut across the board in the last pay.

Public sector unions look set to defy the government’s emergency decree and strike over pay cuts announced in the budget.

Mr Zinck, the general secretary of the Revenue and Customs Authority’s staff association, says he was questioned over comments deemed to be inciteful.

“They were objecting to my saying that the unions don’t have the guns and the army do. My union used the judiciary to get our award and I was saying that its perhaps better to go to the courts and get a solution rather than go for a strike ballot and strike, which is confrontational.”

Mr Zinck says he was only suggesting a way to resolve the current impasse between the unions and the government. He says he could seek compensation for humiliation.

Fiji In Crisis - Latest News (Niu FM)Date: 21 March 2007

Fiji and Tonga are dealing with a critical issue, the abuse of human rights.

Pacific Radio News has been talking to those right at the frontline, NGOs, advocates and the families of locals whose rights have been violated.

In Fiji, the family of 19-year-old Saikusa Rabaka say he died after being beaten by soldiers.

Sakiusa's mother, Alanieta, says the night he was abused by the army, she thought he was safe in bed. Alanieta details here what she says the soldiers did to her son after they took them up to the barracks (listen)

Sakiusa was talking with friends when he was stopped by soldiers. Two of his friends ended up in the barracks with him.

Meanwhile a political sociologist says locals in Fiji will start losing hope in the very institution that's supposed to offer them protection if complaints are not investigated quickly and fairly.

Dr Steven Ratuva, from the University of the South Pacific, says people will turn on the military, the group that's supposed to help them, if more cases emerge (listen)

Fiji unions closer to show-down with military
AAP | Thursday, 22 March 2007

Fiji's military regime is facing a growing revolt by the country's unions, with thousands more workers voting to support a strike in defiance of warnings they will be sacked.

The Public Employees Union (PEU), representing almost 5,000 blue collar public servants, has voted to back a strike planned by the country's largest union, the Public Service Association (PSA).

The PSA voted overwhelmingly on Friday to strike after the military government slashed civil servants' wages under a plan to save the nation's economy from collapse.

The Fiji Nursing Association and Fiji Teachers Union are also holding ballots about whether to join the planned walkout.

PEU General Secretary Pita Delana today said his members would not be intimidated by the military regime's threats to crack down on workers who walk off the job.

He told how he was rounded up by the military last Thursday and taken to a camp, where Fiji's Acting Military Commander Esala Teleni warned him not to proceed with industrial action.

"They took me down to the camp and they told me 'don't make any strike, don't go against the decision the government has made'," Delana said today.

"He said 'if you want to go on strike, tell them to go on strike, but they will never come back to work. They will go for good. And if you go on strike, then we will intervene. We have to stop it'."

Civil servants learned of the regime's plan to slash their wages by five per cent when an emergency budget was handed down earlier this month.

Interim finance minister Mahendra Chaudhry at the time said Fiji's economy was doomed if it continued on its current path.

Fiji's economy has been hurt by international sanctions imposed after last year's December 5 military coup, and an associated downturn in tourist arrivals.

But the country's military rulers insisted it was the excesses of the ousted government of Laisenia Qarase - not the takeover - that brought the economy to the brink of ruin.

Delana said May was shaping as the likely month for the public sector strike. Unions must first lodge documents giving 28 days' notice of the walkout.

"Some of our members are angry ... if the army intervenes, then there will be a confrontation," he said.

"The way we look at it, we have a dictatorship leadership in our country now. They want to implement anything they like."

Delana said workers wanted to avoid a confrontation with the military, but would not back down on demands to have their wages reinstated.

The Confederation of Public Sector Unions - which groups the PSA and the teachers and nurses unions - said its 12,000 members were ready to join the strike.

Treasurer Karam Chand Bidesi said he was not concerned by the military's threats, and did not think a showdown with troops was likely.

"We are not worried at all," he said.

Ninety-two per cent of members who had participated in secret ballots so far had voted to strike, he said.

Fiji's coup leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has warned a wide-ranging strike would destabilise the country.

The military was ready to take action to prevent it, he said.

"Civil servants should be grateful they are continuing with their paid employment and are already well paid," he told the Fiji Times today.

Other emergency provisions announced earlier this month include budget cuts for education, health, the armed forces and police.

The military regime also slashed the number of government departments from 23 to 16, and moved to cut the compulsory retirement age from 60 to 55. "

PS : Vinaka to "Hearts and Minds" for revealing the truth about Mr Nandan - what is Nandan's agenda - new illegal civilian PM perhaps ? Peabrain ! I never thought I would see the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Essentially this all boils down to a choice between a 5% pay cut for civil servants versus the IG backing down over bond issues and/or its unjustifiably long timetable for a return to democracy. At first glance, the choice seems pretty obvious. A bond issue might be expensive, but would it be as expensive as a nationwide strike at this critical stage? And what about if after all this, the 5% pay cut was simply reversed by the Permanent Arbitrator anyway (as Justice Singh has done in FIRCAOSA’s case) because proper procedures weren’t followed? Since civil servants didn’t ask for this coup, why should they be forced to “pay” for it? By contrast, a backdown over the timetable to democratic elections appears loaded with advantages! An early return to democracy and the rule of law would: reassure the investor community; free up suspended aid and assistance from foreign governments and agencies, and; placate civil discontent by NGOs, Unions, civil rights activists and the general public. Be that as it may, this is unlikely to happen because it would mean: A) a huge “loss of face” due to the implicit admission that the coup was a waste of time, and; B) giving up the chance to “wipe out” grassroots support for the SDL through their relentless Raturala propaganda abuse of the airwaves at taxpayer expense. This is a pity since both those hopes are misplaced. In the first place, the recession Fiji is facing now because of the coup will not be alleviated by the 2007 Chaudhry budget. Space restrictions prevent me from going into details, but you can take this from me now – there will be no 2% GDP growth next year because Fiji will still be well and truly stuck in the economic doldrums by then. That means this all boils down to either admitting the coup was a waste of time now, or having to admit to it later from within the bowels of economic decline. Meanwhile, the constant stream of Raturala diatribe isn’t having the desired effect either. Indications so far are that support for the SDL in the villages is still strong. Moreover, any support for the Raturala worldview that is there can be easily uprooted by just a couple of pointed questions. So the IG’s holdout for the justification of better days is nothing more than a forlorn hope. Better then for them to just back down now, commit to an early return to democratic rule, and negotiate a deal with civil service unions underwritten by fresh bond issues.