Singh steps down after 23 years

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Fiji Public service association general secretary Judith Kotobalavu (left) and outgoing general secretary Rajeshwar Singh at the 80th annual general meeting in Suva yesterday. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

After serving for 23 years in the post of Fiji Public Service Association (FPSA) general secretary, Rajeshwar Singh has passed on the baton to Judith Kotobalavu.

The seasoned unionist handed over the reins at the FPSA annual general meeting in Suva yesterday, promising his support for his successor in the days to come.

“Our objectives are the same as that for the union movement in general,” he said.

“We are not only trying to get a better deal for our members but we wish to influence the values of our major partners – Government and employers. “We always aim to ensure that workers remain at the centre stage.”

Mr Singh said the dark days of the three coups Fiji had experienced – in particular the 2006 coup – brought about a period where civil service reforms and “dictatorial” edicts had to be accepted reluctantly.

However, he said the status and pride of the FPSA today was at its peak in its 80-year history. For Ms Kotobalavu, she is ready to take on the role of incoming general secretary.

“First of all, I’ll just have to sit down with the staff members, look at the current situation with the association and make plans from then on,” she said.

“Maybe make a three-year plan because that’s my term in office, see where the gaps are and see if we can improve on that because my role mainly will be negotiating and leading the collective bargaining for members, preparing master collective agreements.

“So that is my plan as the incoming GS.”

Meanwhile, new office bearers were also elected yesterday.

Emosi Qiokacikaci takes up the post of general treasurer, Shaleeni Singh and Kamlesh Chand remain vice president, and Ropate Pareti takes up the mantle of national president.

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