The National Federation Party says the Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is demeaning workers earning a minimum wage by accusing political parties of politicising the issue of pay for unskilled workers.
Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says it is habitual of Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to side-track from the fundamental issues when he is unable to find logical answers to questions.
“It is hypocritical of a politician like him accusing others of politicising the issue of minimum wage”.
“Seeking an increase to the meagre rate of $2.68 to at least a living wage of $5 an hour is not playing politics but an attempt to enhance the livelihood of our ordinary people as well as the main objective of cushioning the impact of the skyrocketing cost of living apart from removal of VAT and lowering of duty on 15 basic food items”.
“Playing politics is promulgating a Decree on 3rd October 2014, three days before the first parliamentary sitting to stipulate unprecedented exorbitantly high salaries and allowances for Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers”.
“Playing politics is practicing bipartisanship for the only time in parliament on 29th September 2016 with the major Opposition party to vote for themselves hefty increase to allowances ranging from 100% to 250% only 7 months after the devastating effects of Severe TC Winston”.
“Playing politics with the lives of people is rejecting several parliamentary motions moved by NFP in parliament like increasing the price of raw milk paid to dairy farmers, implementing a minimum guaranteed price of $100 per tonne of sugarcane, kicking out a petition by Rakiraki cane growers for Government to build a new sugar mill, to name a few”.
“Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s rants during his budget consultations is a clear sign that the current Fiji First Government has run out of ideas and resorting to playing the blame game”.
“Whether the AG likes it or not the NFP is determined to implement its rationale policy of a living wage as one measure to alleviate the plight of our ordinary workers including many in the garment industry who are paid even less than the meagre minimum wage despite being skilled at their craft”.