Don’t blame us, says Anthony – FTUC up in arms over payment

National Workers Union general secretary Felix Anthony in Suva. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

FIJI Trades Union Congress (FTUC) national secretary Felix Anthony says unions should not pay the Supervisor of Elections office when union elections are conducted.

He said this was decided at a recent FTUC national council meeting.

“That office should be funded by the Government, the National Budget and it is up to the Supervisor of Elections office, the Electoral Commission, to ensure that the budgets allocated to the Supervisor of Elections office is sufficient to carry out its functions,” he said.

Mr Anthony said under new laws proposed by Government, the SOE’s office was required to supervise union elections, with unions to fork out costs.

“While it has done so in the last few years, this year the Supervisor of Elections is now demanding that the unions pay for the cost for the supervision and the carrying out of the elections.

“The unions and the council has decided to advise all its affiliates that no affiliate is to pay the Supervisor of Elections for conducting elections.”

He said it was a decision made by the Government and it was their responsibility to provide funding for it.

“If the Supervisor of Elections does not have the money or the funds to carry out its functions, then it should not and cannot blame unions.

“More recently, we had the Fiji Teachers Union and the National Union of Factory and Commercial Workers wishing to hold their elections for office bearers and the supervisor of elections failed to conduct those elections.”

He claimed the office failed because of lack of funds. During an interview more than a week ago, Mr Anthony said they would write to the Supervisor of Elections to inform him of the decision made by the council.

Questions sent to the SOE’s office more than a week ago on the statements made by Mr Anthony remain unanswered.

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