Fiji Time: 3:58 PM on Wednesday 26 October

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Union poll scrutiny

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, May 15, 2014

ALL trade union elections held after the September polls will be conducted by the Elections Office, says Attorney-General and Minister for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He said his office had received complaints from trade union members that elections held by some organisations had been rigged.

The A-G said the Electoral Decree that was in place would make it mandatory for all trade union elections to be held under the scrutiny of the Elections Office.

"In one of the latest elections held for one of the trade union organisations, we had members writing to us saying that the ballot papers or boxes had been rigged," he said.

"We've had people complain to us saying that the incumbent kept the ballot boxes in his office whilst he was also running as a candidate.

"There are many of these things that people do tell us and the whole idea of this is to make it transparent, the whole idea is to have full disclosure about it."

Fiji Trades Union Congress acting general secretary Rajeshwar Singh said the government's decision to make all trade union polls fall under the auspices of the Elections Office was designed to destroy the workers representative body.

"The trade unions are aware of the Electoral Decree where trade union elections could be conducted by the Elections Office," he said.

"Now we gather from the news media that it would be made mandatory."

Mr Singh said by quoting that a failed candidate who lost an election in the union complained of discrepancy as the reason for a mandatory conduct of election of trade unions under the Electoral Decree was "the flimsiest of excuses one could imagine".

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