7 Nov 2002

Fiji opposition leader slates racist comment by leader of Taukei union

6:28 pm on 7 November 2002

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has sharply criticised a race-based indigenous trade union for its public attack on the appointment of an ethnic Indian to head a state-owned organisation.

The secretary of the National Union of Taukei Workers, Taniela Tabu, said this week there would be protests at the appointment of Chandra Shekhar as chief executive of the Land Transport Authority.

Mr Tabu said a lot of indigenous Fijians were adequately qualified to take up the position.

But Mr Beddoes says Mr Tabu's threats are racist, unwarranted and irresponsible.

He says every organisation needs a qualified and competent chief executive if it is to succeed.

The opposition leader says as a trade unionist, Mr Tabu should know that the welfare of his members also depends on the ability of the chief executive, and not the colour of his skin and ethnic origin.

Mr Beddoes says instead of passing judgement on the new chief executive before he has taken up his position, Mr Tabu should be rallying support for him so he can ensure success and maintain secure employment for his union members.