13 Jul 2007

Row escalates between Fiji public service unions

9:34 am on 13 July 2007

A row has broken out in Fiji over allegations that the Confederation of Public Sector Unions withdrew its strike notice this week because its chairman, Rajeshwar Singh, was paid off.

Fiji TV reports that Mr Singh, who is also the chairman of the Air Terminal Employees Trust, was appointed chairman of the Air Terminal Services Limited board on July 4th last week.

In a unique partnership started 25 years ago, the company is 51% owned by the state and 49% by its employees.

The general secretary of the rival union body, the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions, Attar Singh, claims this was a pay-off for withdrawing the strike notice.

But Rajeshwar Singh says the company is a partnership in which the board decided to offer the chairmanship to the employees' representative and it took place well before this week's strike settlement.

Attar Singh says this is obviously a case of the interim government being friendly towards the Employees Trust and all the posturing about a strike threat was carefully managed play acting.