Weather Fiji, Suva   Max 30°C, Min 23°C

Fiji Sun


Democracy Is Alive And Well

Democracy Is Alive And Well
The Fiji Trades Union Congress march progresses through Nadi Town on January 13, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
January 14
12:29 2018

Our democracy is alive and well, despite claims by anti-Government critics who thought otherwise.

This was clearly demonstrated by the Fiji Trades Union Congress-organised march in Nadi yesterday in support of a group of striking Air Terminal Services workers.

Police said 2500 people marched but a union claim estimated 8000.

Democracy was the winner on the day. Despite the strike being declared illegal, the march permit was still granted. It gave those that sympathise with some striking workers an opportunity to express themselves in a peaceful way, in true democratic tradition.

Members of opposition political parties many workers and their trade union chiefs and ordinary people joined the march.

Mahendra Chaudhry, the Fiji Labour Party leader, was the only political party leader among the marchers.

Bau chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau was also there.

It was a fine typical Western sunny day and the hype about the march had attracted the crowd.

Some who were there to watch eventually joined the march. They wanted to be part of a spectacle that rarely comes around and that it would end in a musical extravaganza at the Nadi District School ground featuring some of the country’s top musicians like Seru Serevi, Laisa Vulakoro and the Makare band.

They were there for pure entertainment.

While placard-carrying and chanting unionised workers made their pitch to highlight their grievances, political party members made sure their voices were also heard.

One group that obviously travelled in one of those buses from Suva kept shouting “Vote SODELPA, vote SODELPA, vote SODELPA.”

Labour was strongly represented, headed by its leader Mr Chaudhry.

National Federation Party and Unity Fiji supporters were also in the crowd without their leaders. This was clearly a political rally targeting the FijiFirst Government.

Later at the school ground rally, calls were made to vote it out in the coming general election.

As the march organisers Felix Anthony, Daniel Urai and Lynda Tabuya returned home, the strikers went back to the picket line.

When the strikers wake up this morning, they may feel good about the march. But where to from here?

Nothing has changed. They appear to be digging deeper in their refusal to return to work if their conditions are not met.

This cannot go on indefinitely. ATS has a business operation to continue and protect. It has 70 per cent of the workers back at work and it wants to bring a closure to this dispute.

Possible scenarios that could play out:

Strikers are given an ultimatum to return to work or lose their jobs. A final deadline is issued.

If they still refuse, they will be deemed to have resigned and their jobs advertised.

They can reapply if they want their jobs back    



Related Articles

you said it
"I support it 200 percent, I am with FRU, the country and the people of Fiji. We want to bid to get one of the HSBC stops in Fiji."
Waisale Serevi
Sevens Legend

Latest Photo Gallery

Fijisun Online @Instagram