Tiko is lying and must go

The Permanent Secretary for Education Ioane Tiko must either resign or be terminated from his position for publicly lying about employment security of teachers who have been forced to enter into contracts, contrary to his own ultimatum to teachers through a circular signed by him.

It is absolutely disgraceful that someone vested with the task of heading the Education sector, enjoying the largest chunk of the national budget, can deliberately ignore his own instructions and falsely assure teachers job security when their contracts hang like a noose around their necks.

For Mr Tiko to now say that teachers who have signed contracts will have their contracts automatically renewed upon their expiry is a blatant lie.

The NFP reminds him of his circular issued on 22nd June to all teachers and non-teachers regarding Job Evaluation Implementation. In the circular Mr Tiko states that teachers and Government Wage Earners (GWEs) who are on “Permanent Status” have two options –  to sign the 5-year contract and be eligible for the pay rise or remain as a “Permanent Status” employee and not be eligible for the pay rise.

This circular was the first official document from Mr Tiko holding teachers to ransom and forcing them to enter into contracts in return for a pay rise.

How can Mr Tiko now say that upon expiry the five year contracts will be renewed?

Worse, the contracts are very clear.

Some of its regressive provisions are: –

  • Renewal of the contract is at the absolute discretion of Government
  • The Civil Servant irrevocably agrees that non-renewal of the Contract will not give rise to any course of action whatsoever against the Government
  • The duration of the Contract expires immediately upon a civil servant reaching the retirement age of 55
  • Renewal of the Contract is subject to Government requiring the services of the civil servant and that too if he or she agrees to enter into another contract on mutually agreed terms
  • The decision of Government to transfer a civil servant on the existing terms of the Contract to anywhere in Fiji is final
  • Government has the right to change or vary the Contract anytime

This discriminatory and exploitative contractual employment that is being forced upon our teachers will not result in a harmonious, unified and productive civil service.

Mr Tiko, the and the Director of the Civil Service Reform Unit Jane Curran and the current Government are responsible for shoving these contracts down the throats of our teachers. They cannot escape from this reality.

The professional, social and economic status of teachers is being seriously undermined. At a time when teachers should be solely concentrating on preparing students for their final and external examinations, they are being subjected to fear and anxiety over the employment security.

We understand their predicament. An NFP Government will abolish all contracts and restore Permanent Status to all teachers and civil servants.

Such draconian contracts are subjugating our teachers and have no place in a genuine democracy.

 

Professor Biman Prasad

NFP Leader

CURRAN’S COMMENTS SMACK OF SHEER RACISM- NFP President

August 24, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE

Comments at the start of a Government Roadshow for Teachers by the Civil Service Reform Unit Director Jane Curran cast racial aspersions and has trampled on the sterling qualifications and credibility of staff of the Ministry of Education.

The National Federation Party condemns her remarks in the strongest manner and calls on the World Bank to look into this condescending approach in its capacity as technical advisors to the civil service reforms.

Ms Curran’s comment while addressing teachers together with Attorney General Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at Jai Narayan College on Monday (21 August) is an example of arrogant racism.

Remarkably the Attorney General who may have heard Ms Curran’s comments, chose to remain silent when apart from casting racial aspersions, Curran also degraded the Ministry staff as inferior in intellect. Does this mean that he condoned her racist remarks?

While addressing teachers who gave up their school holiday time to attend the Roadshow, Ms Curran claimed the Education Ministry made mistakes to contracts for teachers, because they apparently did not provide the required information as required by her.

Ms Curran said amongst other things, “…It was a bit of I thought I was speaking English but I wasn’t evidently. When I asked the question and on their defence they thought they were answering my question…” – Fiji One News, 23rd August 2017.

Ms Curran is obviously of the view that the Education Ministry staff do not understand and speak English. This is patronising and humiliating of the Ministry staff. While the staff may not speak English as perfectly as Ms Curran as it is her mother tongue, she should know that English has been the common language in Fiji for many years.

A vast majority of our people including civil servants are proficient in both spoken and written English, and a great many more Fijians hold high profile positions abroad on the back of our Education system. Staff of the Education Ministry are no exception.

Ms Curran deflecting blame on others for errors on her watch are a further indictment on her professionalism and capabilities.

The World Bank should immediately take appropriate steps to ensure its international standards are upheld.

 

Authorised by:

Pio Tikoduadua

President 

Mob: 7196802

Email: viotikoduadua@gmail.com

NFP President- Curran’s comments smack of sheer racism Aug 2017 (1)

Teachers’ salary increment a colossal disaster

August 22, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE

The teaching fraternity has been exploited and held to ransom by the current Government, which has forced them to enter into discriminatory contracts under the pretext of offering them salary increases.

Principals, Vice Principals, Heads of Department (HOD), Head Teachers, Assistant Head Teachers and other post holders have been demoted to a lower rank and then offered acting appointments to the substantive positions they previously held.

Teachers who held substantive positions have been first appointed to a rank lower than the position they were holding, and then given a second contract offering them an acting contract to the position they held substantially and an acting salary of 95% of the substantive salary.

We have cited contracts of several teachers to confirm the exploitation and discriminatory nature of the contract.

In one case a principal was first offered the contract of a vice principal. The person has been holding the position of Principal prior to this ill-conceived reform. On the same day, the person was given another contract of Acting Principal of 95% of the increased salary.

In another case a teacher holding the position of HOD (Head of Department) was first offered the contract of Assistant Teacher. On the same day, the person was offered an Acting HOD Contract at a salary of   95% of the new salary.

Furthermore, teachers who have been in the service for over 25 years have been given a meagre pay rise of 6.4 percent and the same as teachers with far less experience because they do not hold a Diploma. The teachers are furious because their experience counts for nothing.

Worse of all, all contracts render meaningless the teachers’ employment security and make them totally subservient to Government.

Some of its regressive provisions are: –

  • Renewal of the contract is at the absolute discretion of Government
  • The Civil Servant irrevocably agrees that non-renewal of the Contract will not give rise to any course of action whatsoever against the Government
  • The duration of the Contract expires immediately upon a civil servant reaching the retirement age of 55
  • Renewal of the Contract is subject to Government requiring the services of the civil servant and that too if he or she agrees to enter into another contract on mutually agreed terms
  • The decision of Government to transfer a civil servant on the existing terms of the Contract to anywhere in Fiji is final
  • Government has the right to change or vary the Contract anytime

This discriminatory and exploitative contractual employment that is being forced upon our teachers will not result in a harmonious, unified and productive civil service.

Such draconian contracts are subjugating our teachers and have no place in a genuine democracy.

The two teacher unions must rise and take immediate action to protect their members and prevent this Government from eroding their employment conditions and all teachers must also reject this enforced condition.

Authorised by:

Professor Biman Prasad

NFP Leader

NFP Leader exposes exploitation of teachers by Government- Media Release Aug 2017

NFP President Response to Fiji Times on Increase in cases of Anaemia

Revelation by the National Food and Nutrition Centre that anaemia has shown the highest increase of al medical variables surveys in the 2014-15 National Nutrition Survey is alarming.

Even more worrying is the fact that cases of anaemia amongst our toddlers as well as school students is extremely high. The fact that 43.5% of students between the ages of 15-17 years, who obviously attend secondary schools are anaemic is startling.

This shows that despite initiatives like tuition free education and free bus fares, parents and guardians cannot afford to provide their children decent meals.

On the face of this alarmingly increasing cases of anaemia the Minister of Health launched a mobile application known as “My Kana” to provide nutrition and dietary advice.

Under normal circumstances with affordable food prices, this application would provide timely advice to our people. But with astronomical food prices, this mobile application is meaningless.

Between 2006 and 2012: food prices went up by 54% while non-food prices increased by 32%.

Between 2006 and 2013: food prices increased by a massive 59%, heating and lighting increased by 60% and transportation went up by 50%.

How does Government expect families surviving on a meagre minimum wage of  $2.32 from July 2015 and now $2.68 an hour, buy healthy and nutritious food, let alone meet other basic needs and rising cost of other services? In fact since January 2016 7 basic food items previously zero-rated had 9% VAT imposed on them by the current Government, in a clear betrayal of Fiji First’s 2014 election promise.

The first step towards preventing any further rise in cases of anaemia amongst our people is to make food affordable. The recent wage and salary increases will provide little relief to people because the increases are not commensurate with the cumulative rise in inflation over the last ten years.

An NFP government will replace the current meagre wage with a living wage of $5 an hour and ensure 15 basic food items are zero-rated or VAT free.

Pio Tikoduadua

NFP President

NFP PRESIDENT- Response to Fiji Times on Increase in Cases of Anaemia

 

 

Response to the Fiji Times on Unemployment Rate

The Government’s so-called 5.5% unemployment rate is laughable. It is suggesting that Fiji’s unemployment rate is similar to that of the United States or the United Kingdom.

The Economy Minister and his associates need to get out of their air-conditioned offices and travel to the rural areas and squatter settlements and ask the thousands of idle or under-employed young people what they think.

If there are so few unemployed people, why does the Government have to increase welfare payments? Why does the Prime Minister run around the country handing out so-called $1,000 “small enterprise grants”? If there are so many jobs and so few unemployed people, then employers would be paying high wages to attract the best people to their companies. If that is so, why is the minimum wage still below $3 an hour?

The Government claims that the economy is so well managed that Fiji has nearly full employment. This means that it really has no idea of what is happening on the ground.  We call their claims laughable. But the many school leavers and poor people who are struggling to find work will not see the joke.

Pio Tikoduadua

NFP President

Response to the Fiji Times on Unemployment Rate

 

HUMAN TRAGEDY

AUGUST 09, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE

THE NATIONAL FEDERATION PARTY WISHES TO CONVEY ITS CONDOLENCES TO MERE MATHEWSELA, THE MOTHER OF THE TWO CHILDREN WHO TRAGICALLY DIED IN THE SUNDAY LATE NIGHT HOUSE FIRE IN LAUTOKA. OUR PRAYERS ARE ALSO WITH SALASEINI MARAMAELEVUKA, WHO LOST HER DAUGHTER AND CLOSE FRIEND, IS RECOVERING AT LAUTOKA HOSPITAL.THE DEATH OF THE 3 YOUNG CHILDREN AND 2 ADULTS IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE HUMAN TRAGEDY, HAS SHOCKED THE PEOPLE OF LAUTOKA AND AS WELL AS PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

“THIS TRAGEDY IS NOT THE FIRST IN LAUTOKA. IN 1997 2 YOUNG EXPATRIATE CHILDREN WERE SIMILARLY BURNT TO DEATH IN WAIYAVI, LAUTOKA.”

THEY WERE ALSO TRAPPED IN THE HOUSE DUE TO THE SECURITY GRILLS AND NEIGHBOURS AND FIREMEN WERE HELPLESS IN TRYING TO BREAK INTO THE HOUSE TO SAVE THEM.

WE ARE SEEING A REPEAT OF SIMILAR SITUATION HERE, WHERE NEIGHBOURERS WERE FRUSTRATED IN REMOVING THE SECURITY GRILLS TO RELEASE THE VICTIMS.

INDEED, IT IS IRONICAL THAT THE CITIZENS IN THIS COUNTRY BARRICADE THEMSELVES IN THE PHASE OF “VIOLENT CRIMES” AND “HOUSE BREAK-INS AND ROBBERIES” EXPERIANCED IN THE COUNTRY WHILST CRIMINALS ARE RUNNING FREE. GENERALLY, PEOPLE DO NOT FEEL SAFE IN THEIR OWN HOMES AND HENCE SECURITY GRILLS.

WHILST WE ARE ALL CURRENTLY FOCUSED ON THE TRAGEDY AND LOSS OF LIVES, IT IS ALSO TIMELY THAT THE AUTHORITIES NAMELY POLICE, FIRE AUTHORITY, OHS, LCC AND OTHER RELEVANT AGENCIES SHOULD SOON MEET TO TAKE URGENT REMEDIAL ACTIONS TO AVOID SUCH HUMAN TRAGEDIES IN THE FUTURE.

JAGANNATH SAMI

GENERAL SECRETARY

NATIONAL FEDERATION PARTY

[999 3049-M]

NFP J Sami LTKA Tragedy Statement Aug 2017

Police Lawlessness a grave worry

August 9, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE

The fact that 12 Police Officers have been charged by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal offences shows the extent of lawlessness in the country.

If law enforcers and those vested with protecting the people from criminal elements become law breakers themselves then the confidence of people in the Fiji Police Force is seriously eroded.

And if those tasked with maintaining law and order are engaged in unlawful acts, they are setting a bad example for our ordinary citizens who are struggling to make ends meet and survive. They tend to lose all faith and confidence in our police force.

12 Police Officers being charged for criminal offences cannot taken lightly.  This is the manifestation of the rot that has set in our society. People’s confidence in the police is already low and faith in Police to provide safety and security is now further shaken.

This cancer of lawlessness starts from the top. Any breach of the law, no matter how trivial, is a crime. This rot must be stopped.

To stop lawlessness in a country, people must wake up, stand up, unite and reject all who are involved in taking law in their own hands. People who usurp power must understand and learn that peoples power is at the ballot box and they must and can decide the kind of country and government they want – an accountable. transparent. trustworthy and compassionate government.

 

Jagannath Sami

General Secretary

National Federation Party

999 3049-m

NFP J Sami Crime Statistics Release Aug 2017 

NFP calls for full disclosure on arrest and supervised repatriation of Chinese

August 7, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE

The Leader of the National Federation Party, Professor Biman Prasad has called on the Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration to provide full disclosures to all Fiji citizens on the details surrounding the arrest and supervised repatriation of 77 Chinese from Fiji on a chartered Chinese flight.

“What exactly is the extent of this? Were they Dual Citizens holding Fiji Passports? Were their human rights amply upheld during detention? How long has this manner of transnational crime been occurring? Are there any further details? Is this limited to telecom scams or were there also other illegal activities? What measures will the Government urgently implement to ensure there is no repetition?” Professor Prasad asked.

Professor Prasad said the Fiji First Government needs to be transparent and accountable with this issue for it involves Fiji’s border security, domestic security, as well as the immigration policies that the Government has implemented.

“The supervised repatriation of such a large number of Chinese people from Fiji on a chartered China Southern Airlines plane, with an even greater number of Chinese security personnel to escort them back to China has made international headlines, yet here in Fiji we have not heard a single word from this Government.”

“This is unprecedented and has never occurred under the watch of any Government.”

“I am urging the Prime Minister who is also the responsible minister for Immigration and his Fiji First Government to clearly and honestly come forward with the facts on this case of public interest.”

“The Chinese authorities are reportedly saying that this supervised repatriation involves individuals that are involved in telecom fraud, with dens being busted in Fiji.”

“There are however many lingering questions that the Government needs to answer for the sake of transparency and accountability of an issue of such a magnitude.”

“In May this year the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence tabled their report recommending that Fiji ratify the UN Convention Against Transnational Crime and 3 Protocols. One of the “Challenges” raised in the report by FRCA, DPP, the RFMF and Immigration Department is that they all said they needed to strengthen their collective collaboration. The lack of this collaboration has been laid bare for all to see.”

“Then the other challenge in the report is that the Immigration Department suggested that they take back the primary line because they are better specialised, is highly problematic as this role is now undertaken by FRCA. This is now a serious indictment on the porosity of our borders and it falls on the Government to come clean.”

“If this issue is not resolved and responded to quickly, the global community and their expectations on Fiji as a responsible State will not look very kindly on us and any global initiatives we advocate.”

 

Authorised by:

Professor Biman Prasad

NFP Leader

NFP Leader calls for full disclosure on arrest and supervised repatriation of Chinese – Media Release (1)