News and Editor's Comments Monday 25.7.11

NOTICES From today, NEWS and Editor's Comments replace the Daily News feature. My intention is to publish News daily Monday to Friday. The Daily News postings from 17-22 July may be read by scrolling down this page. Earlier Daily News  may be read by using the Archives or Search facilities.  • TO RECEIVE POSTINGS AUTOMATICALLY BY EMAIL use the right sidebar facility. See also links to the People's Charter, the Roadmap for Democracy and the Strategic Framework for Change. • SCROLL DOWN TO WEEKEND READING.

Monday 25 July
FIJI v. ALL BLACKS. It's commendable but ironic that Fiji, with its struggling economy and high levels of unemployment and poverty —  made that much worse by NZ policies —  played a charity match to raise money for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal on Friday. Fiji lost 14 to 60, with the last two NZ tries questionable. A good result from the skilled and gutsy underdog. If Minister McCully was watching, we know which team he would be supporting,  but I wonder whether he also saw the irony.
GOVERNMENT FINGERS MORE UNION DEALINGS. I think Government should address the FCTU concerns about the proposed Employment Relations Decree and buturaki but it is difficult to support Anthony's requests to Australian and NZ unions (who know only what Anthony chose to tell them) for action against Jetstar and Air Pacific. Government's response has been to reveal details of the salaries and perks of some professional union leaders.
     The latest states that unions collect a massive $3.5 million a year in subscription fees from members. The major unions — Fiji Sugar and General Workers, Fiji Public Service Association, National Union of Hotel and Catering Workers, National Transport Workers Union, teachers, nurses and farmers unions —  have a total of about 30,000 members who pay weekly subs averaging $5. No tax is levied on the fees. Many union leaders, on salaries of over $100,000, also enjoy allowances for housing, travel, subsistence, entertainment, and car fuel.
     Veteran unionist Kamlesh Arya is calling for the review of union leadership following the decision by some union leaders to invite international sanctions against Fiji. He said they did not have their members’ mandate. Government's exposure of this situation is overdue but it still needs to address the legitimate concerns of the unionists.
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN. Women's Ministry director Salote Radrodro said Fiji is on track efforts to comply with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). "Many other Pacific nations still have to report and have constructive dialogue. We have just completed a short-term report on the Constitution and electoral reform process which was one of the three key priorities we were asked to complete by this month," she said.
     Minister Dr Luveni said the CEDAW committee in New York had welcomed  Fiji's new Domestic Violence and Child Welfare decrees,the Women's Plan of Action (which addresses the State's  commitment to the empowerment of women) and the Government's decision to construct women's centres in provinces and semi-urban settlements.


Seizure said…
The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women - CEDAW - has been around for about a decade. Numerous workshops have been organized and a great deal of funds spent and it's very offensive to women to find out that there is no woman member of the FNPF Board. Should not the Ministry of Women be pushing women into such positions ? Women are pensioners too and they have a right to be represented on the Board. The right women off course have to be identified and that is the responsibility of the Women's Ministry. The right women on such boards are likely to speak out on self-interest and greed evident in the huge fees and allowances that have been paid to previous members of the FNPF Board.The Ministry of Women should stop being timid and force the issue of representation of women at the decision making table at all levels and in all sectors if values and standards are to be uplifted for all. By existing, women have earned this right.
Smiti said…
Yes government should address the issues raised by Unions (the decree does exist) but first it should reveal it's own salaries and benefits before questioning others !

They seem to not know the old adage "practice what you preach"
Securing trust and confidence of those who pay? said…
Kamlesh Arya is quite correct to call for a stringent review of Union Leadership. If complaints are heard, then there is no one to blame but themselves. No upstanding, competent and professional trade union leader (properly qualified to conduct industrial relations negotiations) would accept readily that he/she be remunerated in such a questionable manner. Leaders must have the trust and confidence of those who pay them. How to secure this trust now?
Reserved Seats on Boards said…
On the matter of women's representation on boards and in particular the FNPF Board, it goes without saying that women in Fiji should receive a legal percentage of board positions in the Public Sector. In Norway, it is 35% one is led to believe. Note how peaceful until last Friday Norway has been? The trend globally is for reserved places for women on boards funded by Public Money or Stakeholder Money if they are 'in view' by other means: competence, ability to produce the required outcome for the benefit of ALL stakeholders/shareholders in an equitable manner. This demands trained, professional and vocal women who will not be afraid to speak up and ensure their views are recorded and, what is more, correctly recorded.
Tave said…
Kamlesh Arya has knifed fellow trade unionists more than once before. He is a reactionary who is a blight on the labour movement.

His latest statement simply reveals his lopsided support for the dictatorship (after all he used to Fiji’s HC in Canberra). Under the PER trade unions have not been allowed to hold meetings or circulate materials deemed to be anti-regime. How the hell do you get mandate from your membership?

I doubt it very much if many trade union leaders are paid $100,000 plus.
Disclosure said…
@ Smiti

How will the disclosure of how much our current political leaders earn change anything ? And if they are earning much less than the SDL Ministers ( which some civil servants say they do ) will it change any mindset? We can deduce what they earn from their lifestyle. Do they own top of the range vehicles or yachts ? How many wives do they have ? Are they regularly entertaining friends and relatives in 5-star hotels etc etc ? AG is a bit of a fashionista but Bainimarama ? He could do with more funds for his wardrobe.
Anonymous said…
Government seems to be avoiding very legitimate questions and concerns about a new decree. Instead they are yelling about salaries and benefits of union leaders and the money bags gained from FNPF board and associated boards.

Government should

1. Talk to the issue of the decres

2. First reveal it own salaries, perks, benefits

3. Take ownership of any excess board payments (these union leaders where forced onto FNPF by government)

4. publish all current board appointments and salaries

To take the high ground on the issue you have to first get out of the gutter. Government in sounding alot like a union itself on this issues or worse - a anti government blog site !
Outrage said…
Oh seems PM, Minister and Military appoints are NOT THE ONLY ONES earning big salaries with lots of perks. Frank and team have every right to be outraged. How dare others earn similar to them !!!

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