NEWS

Anthony: We Report To No One Except Affiliates

There is no law that requires the Fiji Trades Union Congress to report to anyone except its affiliates, Felix Anthony said yesterday. Mr Anthony made this statement yesterday in Nadi
08 Feb 2015 11:17
Anthony: We Report To No One Except Affiliates
FTUC president Daniel Urai (right), general secretary Felix Anthony. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

There is no law that requires the Fiji Trades Union Congress to report to anyone except its affiliates, Felix Anthony said yesterday.

Mr Anthony made this statement yesterday in Nadi after his re-election as the FTUC’s general secretary. He defeated Rajeshwar Singh of the Fiji Public Service Association 64-17 in a secret ballot.

The media was not allowed to be present at the FTUC’s 45th Biennial National Congress meeting at the Hexagon International Hotel. Mr Anthony called a press conference after the meeting.

Mr Anthony said: “We don’t report to the Government at all. There is no law that requires us to report to anybody. We report to the affiliates and the company is separate,” he said.

The company is the Fiji Trades Union Congress (Holdings) Limited. According to official records, it has not filed its annual returns since 2006. Mr Anthony, who is listed as company secretary and a director, said he would look into the issue.

“I am going to check on that and the problem is we have been trying to get in touch with the Registrar of Companies to get us the details. They cannot find our files. Now, all of a sudden, they have found the files.”

Mr Anthony said the FTUC was not a company but an umbrella body of registered trade unions. It has also been revealed that it is not a registered trade union.

 

POLITICS

Mr Anthony said he would always be in politics because “ my heart is always there for PDP.” He was the leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in last year’s general election. He did not win a seat and quit. He said he resigned because it was a normal thing to do when the party failed to win a seat.

Two motions introduced by Mr Singh calling on the FTUC to “sever all ties with PDP” and stop playing politics were defeated by a show of hands. Mr Singh told the meeting that politics for unions in Fiji had never produced any tangible benefits. In a circular to all affiliates he said there was a need to take a fresh thinking about a new direction and strategy to save the trade union movement from its eventual demise.

Mr Anthony said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting and the attendance.

FTUC president Daniel Urai, who retained his position unopposed, said that more trade unionists needed to be active and be part of the general election in four years.

He said “Politics is not dirty as Bainimarama use to say. Politics is part of our society as we must enter and to have the say and to fight for our rights and for our workers.”

He called on all affiliates to have unity among members.

He also said governments would come and go but the FTUC would remain in the interest of its members.

He has also called on the Government to review its policies on unions.

He criticised the Fiji Sun for its reporting about the FTUC and its activities.

“Tell me who wants to know, we only work for our people. Fiji Sun has tried to change this and people will think that we are liable to Government but we don’t, we are liable to our own membership.”

“Today’s Fiji Sun said that we were doing something illegal, but we are doing what is right in our constitution, not theirs.”

 

Motions

The motions by Mr Singh also called for trade unionists who had resigned to contest a general election should enter a union election to get their jobs back. Mr Anthony did not do that last year. He just returned,

Mr Anthony said both motions were defeated with huge majority.

“He (Mr Singh) should also get the message that what those in the room thought were not what he thought,” he said.

“FTUC being part of the political party is vitally important we believe these workers need a political voice.

“Everything happens in politics from legislation down to government policies affects the workers of this country and we need to be talking about this issue. It is not only we talk about this issue but we are involved and we are able to influence he decisions so that the workers have their fare dues.”

Mr Singh also claimed that there were factions within FTUC and there was ‘an organised mafia group trying to heckle him ’ as he spoke.

“They intimidated me and told me to sit down and shut up,” Mr Singh claimed.

Mr Anthony denied the allegations and said Mr Singh should not get too emotional in trade union meetings.

“There is no faction as this is not the first time FTUC had differing views. We can speak to each other frankly and debate issues.”

Mr Anthony said there were few interventions when Mr Singh spoke, “but that is normal but if you think of organised mafia group then it is a figment of his imagination”.

“No I don’t think no one was there to organise a group to hackle people down. We believe in democracy, having fair share of views.

“This is trade union meeting and people do get emotional on issues and they do speak up. I think he (Mr Singh) should be used to these meeting as we have been attending before and it is no different from other meetings.

Mr Anthony also confirmed that there had been talks to invite members of the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions to the FTUC.

FTUC office bearers:

– President: Daniel Urai (Unopposed)
-Vice presidents: Kolokesa Kini, Apisai Bakabaka, Vidya Singh (elected)
– Treasurer: Agni Deo Singh (unopposed)
– General Secretary: Felix Anthony (elected)
– Assistant general secretary: Rohit Singh (unopposed)

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

 




Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: