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Spokesman says no ‘backlash’ against unions

By Nasik Swami SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, July 31, 2011) – The Fijian government’s latest move to stop civil servants from paying their union dues is not a backlash against trade unions in Fiji says Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Sayed-Khaiyum said government’s main concern is that government is a choice employer and there is no discrimination on slave wages as portrayed by some union officials overseas.

"These changes now protect the rights of all civil servants against any form of discrimination and the government does not see a need to pay union dues," he said.

Sayed-Khaiyum said there is no move to put an end to the union movement.

"What we do have is a safeguard should there be discrimination," he said.

Sayed-Khaiyum revealed that trade unions are paid FJ$2 million [US$1.2 million] per year as union fees.

He however said the new measure dose not stop civil servants from joining trade unions themselves.

The move follows amendments to the Public Service Act, this Sayed-Khaiyum believes that the rights of workers have been enshrined in law and are therefore safe-guarded.

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