News and Comments Wednesday 21 November 2012
AIRPORT STAFF GET WAGE INCREASE. Close to 250 Airports Fiji Limited workers received early Christmas presents through news that government has approved pay increases — more than a decade after the last salary adjustment was made. The increases, ranging from $2000 to $8000 p.a.will be paid to baggage handlers, firemen, security officers, plumbers, painters, carpenters, landscapers and drivers.
The pay rise followed recommendations by the company's executive management and board, with the approval of the Attorney General and Minister for Public Enterprise and Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
The PM said the increases were in-line with his government's policies of levelling the playing field for all workers in the country." I heard the concerns raised by you that there has been no pay rise since 1999 and I hope this pay review by Hay will have solved this issue to bring those below $10,000 and $15,000 up to a level we are comfortable with," he said.
Acting chairman at the AFL board Faiz Khan said the pay rise, that will cost $725,000, was not viewed as an expense by the company but an investment in the workers. "The major driving force behind this pay rise is to remove the disparity between highly paid staff and others such as the 247 of you. In essence, the company through this initiative has put the ball firmly into your court. Now it is your turn, improve your game..."
TEMPLE VANDALISED. The Nasole Shri Satya Prakash Mandir in Nausori was broken into and vandalised for the third time on Sunday. The culprits broke three padlocks on the gates to gain entry to the main prayer hall. Nothing major was stolen, but the destruction to the Holy place and its worship ornaments was a concern.The Ramayana (Holy book) and the accessories of the goddesses were scattered on the floor.Temple founder and trustee, Pundit Ashok Maharaj, said people should respect aplace of worship whether it is a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara.
SPRAT TO CATCH A MACKEREL.Nadroga Navosa Provincial Council will distribute $20,000 to 123 turaga ni koro (village headmen) and 22 tikina (district) representatives as an incentive payment. That's $137.93 each. However, the money will only be paid if villages and tikina settled their annual provincial levy. So far the Council has received only $98,212, or 74%, of the $133,432 expected levy this year.
MANAGER JAILED FOR TAKING BRIBE. A former human resource manager of Basic Industries has been sentenced to five months and a week imprisonment by the Magistrates Court in Suva after he accepted a $700 bribe.
ARMY OFFICER SUSPENDED. A senior army officer has been suspended over allegations of abuse of office. The officer is also alleged to have abused the Soldiers Welfare Scheme.
PM IN PNG.The PM has left for PNG to attend the Pacific, Africa, Caribbean Pacific or PACP Leaders meeting,at the invitation of PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill. The Fiji PM again extended his deep appreciation for PNG's unwavering support for Fiji's full participation in the Pacific ACP meeting. Fiji needs to attend because, together with PNG, it "is a key Pacific economy in the Pacific ACP and EU negotiations." Australia and NZ have prevented similar participation in the Pacific Forum but have no influence to prevent Fiji's participation in PNG.
CONTROVERSIAL MINE CREATES JOBS.The Namosi Joint Venture copper mine exploration project has created more than 380 jobs, most of them local, and if the mine goes ahead at least 3,000 people will be employed, 2,000 during the construction of the mine and 1,000 during the mining operations. Environmental impact assessments are still in progress, and the province is divided on whether the project should go ahead.If approved, mine construction will cost $2 billion and operations will last 25 to 40 years. Exports could be worth $1 billion a year.
LAMI DEVELOPMENT ANGERS VILLAGERS.The controversy surrounding a proposed land development by Pacific Building Solutions (PBS) at Wailekutu, Lami, has taken a new twist. Fishing grounds owners at Waiboloa where the development was earmarked, have written to the Roko Tui Rewa – Suva, Taniela Tabukarawasaid, to stop the project saying, “We were tricked. We only knew of 3.5 acres, now they want to cut the mangrove to develop the area ...We do not want them to come to us again. This is the collective agreement of all leaders in our district." Copies of the letter will be given to line ministries and the PM. Director of Lands, Jope Davetanivalu, said a permit was given for 3.5 acres to PBS which excluded the mangroves but PBS managing director Michael Fairfax said they had obtained all necessary approval from landowners, and intended to develop 12 acres included areas of mangrove.
He said the site will be developed with state of the art eco- friendly designed structure that will be the first of its kind in Fiji and the proposed reclamation of the foreshore area approved by the Navakavu Development Committee (traditional iqoliqoli owners) will have a positive environmental impact on the area.
As with so many reports, you have a choice on who to believe. It does not help matters for such reports to be published until all the facts are known. Anything less than this fosters misunderstandings and discontent. And this article was published in the supposedly pro-Government Fiji Sun!