September 20, 2012
Unions harming Fiji
Report by: Shalveen Chand
The action of the Fiji Trade Union Congress and other unions in seeking American sanctions against our own nation is sabotaging the economy and threatening people’s livelihood says the Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade Shaheen Ali.
The Unions have made the call to the US after not agreeing with labour reforms by the government.
Ali says the Unions want to stop Fiji from benefiting from the US Generalized System of Preferences Scheme which, since 1976, has given certain Fijian exporters.
Under the scheme, exporters have the economic advantage of duty free entry into the US.
Ali says 39 Fijian companies which now export range of products will lose their preferential access and benefits from the US GSP Scheme.
He says agriculture, garments and mineral water sector will lose their businesses, and these include small and medium enterprise that export niche products to the US.
According to Ali, 15,000 Fijian jobs are now on the line as a result of the action by the Union.
He says the union leaders are harming ordinary Fijian workers, whose rights they claim to champion.
He adds their actions demonstrate that they are not acting on behalf of the Fijian workers, but for their own political and personal agendas and are engaged in battles with each other to advance their own positions.