October 02, 2012

There's still time to change

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, October 01, 2012

THE future of 15,000 workers and 39 companies could be at risk if the request of a number of trade unions to the United States government to remove duty free access that certain local exporters have enjoyed for years.

This was the view of Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama while expressing his disappointment towards the union leaders.

"Some of our trade union leaders have asked the American government to punish Fiji by removing the duty free access that certain Fijian exports have enjoyed for decades. This action threatens the jobs of 15,000 Fijian workers and 39 companies that export their goods and services to America.

"They include most famous brands — Fiji Water, PAFCO, FMF, Pure Fiji — and a host of other companies vital to the economy," said Commodore Bainimarama.

"As your Prime Minister, I want to say how disappointed I am that a handful of Fijian trade unionists — we all know who they are — have been prepared to use ordinary workers as pawns in their struggle with the government to protect their own positions."

He said a labour reform was needed to end the "rorts" of the union leaders selfishly trying to maintain their privileges.

"We need a labour reform to return the power to ordinary workers. We need labour reforms to attract the investment Fiji needs to protect the jobs we have and to create many more."

Commodore Bainimarama then appealed to the union leaders to end their assault on ordinary workers.

"There is still time for them to change course and regain the respect of the community. They need to finally put Fijian workers first."

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