THE Attorney-General and Minister for Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has appealed to ordinary Australians to examine facts rather than heed union lobby on behalf of certain unionists in Fiji.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Australian Council of Trade Unions was trying to damage the jobs of ordinary Fijian workers by calling on Australians not to visit Fiji.
“It is doing so on the basis of a false impression that the Fijian government is anti-union. We are trying to protect the jobs of our citizens, not destroy them,” he said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the government was perplexed that trade unions seemed willing to “sacrifice the jobs of decent, hard working people in Fiji”.
“Australians need to be aware that the jobs of thousands of workers in the local tourism industry are at stake. They have a deep affection for the Australian people and do not deserve to become pawns in a union squabble.”
He said a small clique of union leaders in Fiji was fighting the government’s labour reforms, which are designed to return power to ordinary workers and expand job opportunities.
An estimated 15,000 jobs are being threatened as the Fiji Trades Union Congress takes action in the United States to deprive Fiji of duty free exemptions for 39 local companies.