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Labour policies

Mahendra P. Chaudhry,Leader Flp
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

I write in response to an attack on FLP's policies by Tukai Lagonilakeba of Namaka, Nadi in a letter to The Fiji Times (4/11).

The writer attacked FLP's policy on a national minimum wage (NMW) and asked why the Labour government had done nothing about this.

He also questioned whether FLP had policies on climate change and preservation of the environment.

First of all let me correct his statement on NMW. The Labour party is not asking for $4 an hour minimum wage. We are asking for the FF government's $2.68 an hour to be immediately increased to $3.50 an hour while negotiations are held between the unions and its tripartite partners on an NMW, which is fair and reasonable.

The issue of a national minimum wage has been a founding policy of the FLP ever since its inception in July 1985.

It has been a part of the party's policy platform at every general election. Unfortunately, the party has not been allowed to remain in office long enough to implement its social policies.

In 1987, we were ousted after only a month in office. In 1999/2000 after a year. This did not give the Labour government enough time to determine a national minimum wage fair to both the workers and the employers, keeping in mind the ability of the latter to pay.

The FLP does not believe in the unilateral imposition of such policies.

Let me remind Mr Lagonilakeba, it took the incumbent leaders, eight long years before they were even prepared to consider a national minimum wage, and then they unilaterally imposed a ridiculously low rate of $2.32 an hour (recently revised to $2.68 an hour), without any discussions with the unions.

As for climate change and environmental issues, I advise Mr Lagonilakeba to read FLP's election manifestos, visit our website and Facebook postings to see how concerned we have always been about the sustainability and preservation of our environment.

FLP is one political party, perhaps the only one, that has consistently shown concerns and raised queries about the abuse of our environment.

We have been picking on the Government and municipal councils for their neglect of and failure to implement rules and regulations regarding care and preservation of the environment.

COP23 is a recent issue, but despite this, the government's on the ground policies, or lack of them, belie the lip service it gives to COP23.

Let Labour lead and you will see the difference.

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