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Singh Gets Slammed

Singh Gets Slammed
Trade Unionist Agni Deo Singh.
September 18
11:17 2015

Trade unionist Agni Deo Singh needs to get his facts straight before making disparaging comments about Fiji on international forums, says Education Minister Mahendra Reddy.

Mr Reddy’s statement follow comments made by Mr Singh in Ottawa, Canada.

Speaking at the 7th World Congress of Education International in July, the Fiji Teachers Union’s general secretary made a number of claims.

He claimed that Fiji’s democracy was an extension of dictatorship, teachers’ pay was being slashed in half and that Mr Reddy was a bully.

The comments have now been seen in Fiji.

Mr Reddy said that Mr Singh did not understand the reality on the ground.

“They continue to deny the reality that no one’s salary was reduced. They continue to deny the reality that these new intakes were offered a contract and they signed a contract. All these teachers were unemployed and  some of them had been unemployed for as many as 10 years.

“At the beginning of this year we got them into the workforce. For last ten years many of them had been earning zero income and we decided to take them in for one year on probation to test them out and after probation, we would upgrade their salary to $16,000 which is what they then start with.

“Mr Singh’s comments are not only misleading but unfortunate for someone who wants to lead an association of teachers. This is precisely why the teachers of this country have lost faith in him and his leadership.

“Such comments on the international forums are uncalled for and quite unpatriotic. These are the kinds of leaders who put personal interest before national interest,” he said.

When contacted yesterday to clarify his comments, Mr Singh said: “I had made that statement at the 7th World Congress of Education International in the context of the non-restoration of trade union rights after we have achieved democracy.  That is why we said this is not true democracy achieved.

“The second comment I made about the Ministry of Education and about the minister being a bully, since he has become the minister, we were hoping that all the sections of dialogue with the union would be restored. That has not been the case.

“Unilateral decisions have been regarding terms and conditions of teachers”

He said that while teachers previously with different qualification levels received different salaries, having $12,000 was unacceptable.

Mr Singh’s outburst came as a surprise. He was regarded as level-headed and pragmatic.



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