Postscript on the Air Pacific-Employment Decree Saga
(Monday 24th October 2011, No:1961/AG)ATTORNEY-GENERAL DECRIES ABSURDITY OF ACTU CALL FOR BOYCOTT
Attorney-General and Minister of Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum released the following statement today:
“The call by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to boycott Fiji’s tourism and garment industry in response to the Essential National Industries Decree (July 2011) is absurd. The Decree does not apply to the garment industry, nor to the entire tourism industry—only to state-owned/state-backed enterprises and financial institutions.
“Yet, the ACTU is seeking to cripple the entire Fijian economy, a move that would severely affect the livelihoods of the very people it claims to be helping. Professional trade unionists, it seems, will stop at nothing to ensure their member dues keep coming in and that their high-salaried jobs are protected.
“What needs to be recognized is that the ACTU’s threat to hold the livelihoods of Fijians hostage is precisely the type of activity that the Decree seeks to curb in the first place.
“Fiji is a small country. Ours is a small economy. Our businesses are already incredibly dependent on outside forces. The Bainimarama Government only wants to ensure that the livelihoods of all Fijians are guaranteed, and not derailed by the greed of a few.
“When the system isn’t working, as stipulated by the Decree, employees of public enterprises and financial institutions—those deemed ‘essential’ to the continuation of life in Fiji—are fully empowered to represent themselves to redress grievances. In other cases, such as all other businesses in the private sector, the Decree does not apply.”