The General Secretary of Fiji Trade Union Congress, Felix Anthony while speaking to Fiji Village says that he is not deliberately spreading fake news and he did not know that it was fake news on Facebook that the Minister for Infrastructure had announced job losses in Water Authority of Fiji.
Few days ago Fiji One TV also fell for the fake news from the same Facebook page which they later went on and aired it on their mid day bulletin.
Anthony says that if Water Authority of Fiji should tell what the real news is, how many people are being terminated, why they being terminated and why is WAF claiming that all of the employees are project workers when they are not?
Anthony added that all he can rely on is in media, this is because Water Authority of Fiji is not coming out with proper information.
When questioned by Fiji Village, Anthony denies that he used a fake news to propagate his agenda and gather support of the workers to organize his protest on May 3rd and 4th.
The Water Authority of Fiji says nobody’s contract is being terminated in their response to claims by the Fiji Trades Union Congress that termination notices have been given to about 2,600 Water Authority of Fiji workers.
In a press release Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) Board Chairman Bhavesh Kumar has urged union leaders to put the needs of ordinary Fijians before their personal agendas.
The Chairman highlighted recent comments made in the media by prominent union leaders as false and irresponsible.
“The National Union of Workers (NUW) are making deliberate attempts to mislead Fijians by giving them incorrect information and are causing fear and confusion,” said Mr Kumar.
“Unions have started touting the lie that 600 WAF workers have been terminated, which is completely untrue. Most of them have in fact successfully passed their performance assessments, and WAF’s Human Resources team is in the process of renewing their contracts.”
The unions have also recently claimed that 2900 were going to be mass terminated. Nobody is being terminated.
“Again this is completely fake news. Nobody is being terminated. WAF hires workers for particular projects regularly and their contracts end. In fact, we extended their contracts for 6 months and absorbed them in other projects as a gesture of goodwill,” Mr Kumar said.
“Imagine WAF is conducting a water project in Taveuni, The project will take 6 months to complete. We would hire workers from Taveuni for that 6 month period. This is exactly what has happened here, the contracts are coming to an end.”
“I can’t even begin to imagine what our employees and their families have gone through these past few days after reading the fake news published in the Fiji Times about their termination.”
In September 2018 WAF had signed a collective agreement with NUW after a lengthy collective bargaining process. WAF from our end showed good faith in negotiating the rights and entitlements under this agreement.
“However, the unions then lied to WAF employees and told them that signing this collective agreement meant that they did not have to sign a contract. This is ridiculous. In what world does an employee not have to sign a contract?”
“Union members must seriously ask themselves why the union has lied to them like this? Clearly, the union doesn’t have their best interest at heart.”
Water Authority of Fiji invited staff to have a sit down with them and discuss all the issues they had. The issues will now be taken into consideration.