Fiji civil servant association slams pay hikes report
Fiji's Public Service Association has demanded the Fiji Government come clean on whether permanent secretaries have received massive pay increases.
The body representing Fiji's civil servants has criticised an alleged report on pay hikes for permanent secretaries of Government departments.
The General Secretary of the Fiji Public Service Association, Rajeshwar Singh, says he is shocked at the reports of up to 192 percent pay rises, with some department heads earning more than $US119,000 a year.
The Fiji Government has said it will not comment on the report.
Mr Singh says civil servants no longer have a course of action as they have been removed from the main labour legislation by a regime decree.
He spoke to Alex Perrottet:
RAJESHWAR SINGH: We were shocked that a salary rise of about 192% as been given to about eight of the permanent secretaries and the rest of them got a salary increase ranging from 110.9% to 164.21%. So that was a real shock, and this is really unbelievable. But why is the government not prepared to issue any statement is something that baffles us. If they have given this salary rise why aren't they saying it's 'yes'? If they haven't done it they should say 'nay'.
ALEX PERROTTET: And what are your concerns in terms of how these salaries compare to the average salary in Fiji, which I imagine at the moment is less than Fiji $4,000 a year?
RAJESHWAR SINGH: We're talking about civil servants.The lowest-paid civil servants now receive $10,292. In 2007 we had a 5% paycut, and that paycut hasn't been really paid to the civil servants. The civil servants receive 3% payrise. Particularly the public servants and the teachers, the two teachers organisations, which comprises about 10,000 civil servants, teachers and us. We got 3%, the discipline service 10%, 12%. We're even not sure how many went more than 10%, 12%. So that was the last pay rise and we know the cost of living has risen, the poverty is on the increase and members are not able to deal with this inflationary hike. And you know the public service has been taken out from the main labour legislation of the country - Decree Number 21 - which is an amendment decree to employment relations provocation, which takes out the civil servants from the labour legislation. The civil servants don't have any mechanism to file their grievances. There is no collective bargaining. And we thought when the constitution came these Draconian decrees would go away. But, no, the decrees are part of the constitution now. And the other thing is, the cost of living adjustment, there's no salary increase as such. Really, the real wages are down by 40%. And of course there is also, between the permanent secretary and his deputy, there is a gap of about 260%. How do we justify it? There is a serious pay gap between the deputy permanent secretary and the permanent secretary. Relativity in the public sector is out the window.
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