Decree unveiled | Minister reveals ‘hidden hand’ in union rights suppression

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Minister for Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations, Agni Deo Singh during an interview with The Fiji Times Lens @177 at The Fiji Times office in Suva on Tuesday, August 22, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Agni Deo Singh has uplifted evidence from his ministry that shows the Essential National Industries (ENI) Decree of 2011 was drawn up by a law firm in the US.

He said a former CEO of the national airline, Air Pacific, was involved as the law firm sent him an invoice of $24,000 for drafting the law.

“This was done in secrecy,” he said.

“The ENI Decree was first drafted as a Critical Industrial Decree not in Fiji, but the United States.”

“Initial work was done by the law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy of New York.”

“The question that we ask is why the CEO of Air Pacific was involved. And who asked him to facilitate this?”

“This is the deviousness of those who robbed our workers of their right to collective bargaining and withdrawal of labour.”

“What the People’s Coalition Government is doing is restoring their rights and freedoms. No longer will workers be treated like sacrificial lambs or kicked pillar to post”.

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2023 was passed in Parliament last week and it introduced a new definition for essential services and industry.