- INTELLIGENT RESISTANCE -
Free. Fair. Fearless. Intelligentsiya is made up of Fiji Islanders who are libertarians in their own way and who cherish the free flow of news, ideas and information and will peacefully resist any attempts by the country's military rulers to stifle free speech. intelligentsiya will also bear witness, report and discuss human rights abuses by the authorities.
October 04, 2012
Fiji Trade Union Congress national secretary Felix Anthony speaks
Sydney - Fiji's Trade Union Congress national secretary Felix Anthony gave a media briefing about the impasse with the union movement in Fiji at Unions NSW, Trades Hall in Sydney.
He voiced his concerns about the environment of intimidation that he and his colleagues have to operate in, saying that he had never experienced this level of intimidation before. Because of his position he has been beaten up and also spent eight days in jail “for no reason”.
He criticised the current regime for a lack of transparency, explaining that there had not been a single Auditor General report in the past six years (a reference to the time since military chief Frank Bainimarama took executive control of the country, ousting PM Laisenia Qarase in a coup in December 2006).
Fiji road construction
Felix Anthony was worried that the Fiji government was borrowing too much money and was sceptical about the amount of money required for the program to build roads.
As reported by the China Daily, the Bank of China has arranged to loan 200 million Fijian dollars ($114.3 million) so that a Chinese company can construct a road between Nabouwalu and Dreketi in the country's north.
Declining conditions of Fijian workers
Felix Anthony gave some examples of the deteriorating conditions for workers in Fiji: “it would be safe to say that about 60% of the workers in the country actually live on the poverty line, or below the poverty line. This is something that has happened for the first time in the country.” He went on to say, “If we were to look at the decline in 'real' wages over the six years, a very conservative estimate would be a decline of 38%.”
He said that attacks on workers and trades unions were unprecedented. He urged the government to comply with basic conditions such as the right to freedom of association and to collectively bargain.
All he wanted was for Fijian workers’ rights to be respected.