13 May 2002

Infighting among Fiji union movement targets Attar Singh

4:25 pm on 13 May 2002

The deputy secretary of the Fiji Trade Unions Congress has criticised the secretary of the Aviation Workers Union, Attar Singh, for dividing the congress.

Rajeshwar Singh says 80 percent of the congress affililates attended its biennial conference over the weekend and he says there is only a minority group of disgruntled unionists.

The minority faction, known as the FTUC Concerned Group, says the leaders of the congress have lost the essence of fighting for the rights of workers.

The group's grievances stem from the suspension of a unionist and the refusal of the FTUC to blacklist the Pacific Battery Company, whose employees have been on strike for two months.

But Rajeswar Singh says the Congress has done all it can to support the battery workers and he says Attar Singh, who is a member of the faction, has ulterior motives for breaking away.

"this man has been trying to elect himself as the general secretary of the Fiji Trade Union Congress for a long time. He has been unsuccessful last time, he got about forty or fifty votes. This is all he is sour about that he is not able to get to the leadership of the Fiji Trade Union Congress, people have to be popular to be elected and this man has been rejected by the affiliates that is the whole reason why he's been making all these statements it's a case of sour grapes."

Rajeswar Singh