19 Jul 2011

Fiji hits back at union leaders for promoting sanctions

1:21 pm on 19 July 2011

Fiji's interim Attorney-General has hit out at union leaders who he says are promoting sanctions that will hurt the grassroots of Fiji.

New Zealand and Australian unions have threatened bans and boycotts on services to Fiji if the regime there doesn't stop intimidation and curbs on trade union activity.

Sally Round reports.

"Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Fiji Broadcasting union leaders do not have Fiji at heart because sanctions they've promoted will affect people like villagers selling handicrafts, gardeners, taxi drivers and security guards. His comments come after Fiji Trades Union Congress chief Felix Anthony met with unions in New Zealand and Australia and spoke out about being beaten by the military. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says the leaders are portraying a false picture of Fiji and he says they're out for their own self preservation. He says leaders like Mr Anthony have used unions for their own benefit, and he pointed out the costly cars some of them drive. He says some of them initially supported the current government to further their careers and it's unfortunate unions in New Zealand and Australia are relying on their representations."