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Unionist Attar Singh joins NFP line-up

Trade unionist Attar Singh is the latest to join the National Federation Party (NFP) as a provisional candidate. He will be part of the list of 51 names whose nominations
03 Oct 2018 11:39
Unionist Attar Singh joins NFP line-up
Aysha Bibi (left) with National Federation Party provisional candidate Attar Singh and wife Priscilla at the NFP headquarters in Tamavua on October 2, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Trade unionist Attar Singh is the latest to join the National Federation Party (NFP) as a provisional candidate.

He will be part of the list of 51 names whose nominations would be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

Party Leader Biman Prasad announced this at their headquarters in Tamavua yesterday.

He said Mr Singh had resigned as general-secretary of the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions to join the party.

During his 35-year career as a trade unionist, Mr Singh had represented workers from various organisations, and had served on various boards tasked with upholding workers’ rights as well as their occupational health and safety.

“In this long career Mr Singh was repeatedly arrested and harassed by the authorities.

“He and his wife, NFP vice-president Priscilla Singh have been repeatedly subjected to violence and threats,” Mr Prasad claimed.

“But Mr Singh is still here and ready to represent workers, and never have Fiji’s workers needed him more.

“There is no other unionist contesting this election with his experience. I am very fortunate that as a leader of NFP to have got Mr Singh to stand beside me and contest the 2018 General Election.

“The workers of Fiji and the trade union movement can rely upon him to protect and advance their rights and freedoms in Parliament, more so in the new Government that we will be forming after the election on November 14,” Mr Prasad said.

He also said that the Constitution through the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure) Act, deliberately sidelined trade unionists by requiring them to resign their positions if they wish to contest elections.

He said Mr Singh has done that and had sacrificed his career to be the voice of the people.

After the announcement, Mr Singh said yesterday marked the beginning of another journey for him to help end what he claimed as the oppression and suffering of workers and the trade union movement in the country.

He claimed the workers and unions had suffered for too long and were crying out for fairness and justice.

“My message to all unions and workers is that, I have heard your cries. Therefore I am taking this step to correct the injustices inflicted on you.

“And I look forward to your support in this journey so that we can right the wrongs together and once again restore the respect and dignity of every worker and the union movement,” Mr Singh said.

PROFILE:

Name: Attar Singh

Age: 60

Occupation: Trade unionist

Marital status: Married

Residence: Samabula

Where from: Labasa

Education:

  • Labasa Sangam College
  • Aircraft Engineering

Work experience:

  • Certified engineer for Air Pacific and trade unionist

What are three main issues you would be highlighting for this General Election and why?

1. Trade union rights because it has been under attack by this Government for many years. My whole intention of fighting this election is to reverse or change that.

2. Improvement of workers’ conditions that is to bring back dignity to the workers. Fiji needs a very strong union movement if we want to have a vibrant democracy. What’s happening now is that the voice of the workers is suppressed.

3. Fight for the poor and a farmer’s representative because cane farming has been my family’s business in the past. It is my background and I continue to hold their concerns and their problems dear to me. Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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