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