|UNCERTAIN TIMES: Patrons line up outside the FNPF Customer Services Care centre in Suva. pic Eliki Nukutabu via Fiji Times.|
|OVERHAULERS: Khaiyum and Ajith Kodagoda.|
The illegal atorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, continues to try to justify the regime's plans to overaul the Fiji National Provident Fund saying some terrible decisions were made by FNPF between the 1980s and early 2000.
Sayed-Khaiyum has told a meeting of Australian and Fijian accountants that people should realize the earlier Fund decisions were made by government, employer and employee representatives.
In yet another effort to justify the radical changes which include cutting pensions from 15 to 9 per cent, Khaiyum is quoted by Fiji Village as saying it is now imperative the people with the right knowledge and skills are appointed to key positions.
The FICTU march against the proposed FNPF changes planned for today, has meanwhile not taken place because the Commissioner Central refused to grant the permit. Security reasons have been cited.
|SINGH: Rally permit denied.|
The union represents more than 350,000 FNPF members and about 11,000 pensioners.
In a statement, FICTU's general secretary, Attar Singh, says members are "obviously very disappointed by the decision of the authorities to deny us the fundamental right to expression by refusing us permission for our planned demonstration."
"The Protest March and Rally were intended to highlight our concerns and opposition to the FNPF reforms through the most peaceful means available to us. We cannot comprehend how a march by only a thousand people could be considered a security threat to anyone.
"The authorities need to understand that by denying us the right to demonstrate they are in fact aiding the FNPF in its planned reforms which we have already shown are without basis and against the interest of all FNPF members and pensioners.
"It should also be understood that we represent legally registered trade unions which have the right to collective bargaining and the right to freely organise their activities in the interest of members and workers generally."
Singh says the refusal of the permit is a violation of workers' rights as contained in ILO conventions 87 and 98 which have been ratified by Fiji and the FICTU board will look at filing a complaint to the ILO.
He says FICTU will also organise a petition against the planned FNPF overhaul next week. "Meanwhile we repeat our call on FNPF to suspend its planned reforms and maintain status quo until after the 2014 elections and to review the matter thereafter. The FNPF is sustainable for the next 30 years. Elections will be held in two years. So why the rush?"