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Fijian Parliament was told Tuesday that Government was forcing civil servants to sign contracts and sacrifice their security of employment in return for an average 14.3 per cent pay rise to be paid from August 1.
National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad told Parliament during debate on the 2017-2018 National Budgets that he had a copy of a contract signed by a civil servant that offered no security of employment.
“Civil servants have been awarded an average 14.3 per cent pay rise. This equates to 1.43 per cent for each of the last 10 years,” he said.
“Worse still madam Speaker, teachers and other civil servants are being compelled to sign contracts for a restricted tenure of their employment to qualify for the pay rise.
“A memorandum from the Ministry of Education clearly states that teachers whose employment is permanent will not get the pay rise if they do not sign the contract," Prof Prasad said, above the chorus of interjections from the Government side.
“This is blackmail. It is holding a civil servant to ransom.”
Prof Prasad claimed the copy of the contract dated July 4 had regressive provisions such as:
* Renewal of the contract is at the absolute discretion of Government;
* The civil servants irrevocably agrees that non-renewal of the contracts 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 contracts 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: and
* Government has the right to change or vary the contract any time.
Attorney-General and Civil Service Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in his right of reply said competent civil servants welcomed the reforms.
Sayed-Khaiyum said in the private sector, no one received contracts for life.
He said the Government wanted a smart civil service with hardworking civil servants.
He said no civil servant was worse off through the exercise.
Meanwhile, Ministerial salaries are not processed by a private firm.
This was clarified in Parliament by the Attorney-General and Economy Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during debate on the 2017-2018 National Budget.
The clarification came in the wake of claims by Opposition Whip Salote Radrodro that the salaries were processed by a private firm.
Sayed-Khaiyum said this was a lie.
He said the salaries were processed by the Ministry of Economy.
“Madam Speaker, the Honourable Radrodro has said that ministerial salaries are being managed by a private firm,” he said.
“Can she please tell us which private firm because I can tell this House, madam Speaker, as provided in the estimates that it's managed by the Ministry of Economy."
Sayed-Khaiyum said Radrodro should withdraw the comments.
“She should actually withdraw that and apologise for misleading Parliament.”
Radrodro did not apologise, but claimed that information was provided to her that a private firm was processing ministerial salaries.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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