Politics

Reddy calls out unionist on ‘bully’ claims

Education Minister Dr. Mahendra Reddy has taken issue at being labelled a ‘bully’ by a trade unionist in July, saying such comments were ‘uncalled for’ and ‘quite unpatriotic’. Mr. Agni Deo Singh attended the 7th World Congress on Education (WCE) in Ottawa, Canada. According to Fiji Sun, Mr. Singh had claimed at the WCE: Fiji’s democracy was […]

Navin Kumar

September 18, 2015 11:26 am

Education Minister Dr. Mahendra Reddy has taken issue at being labelled a ‘bully’ by a trade unionist in July, saying such comments were ‘uncalled for’ and ‘quite unpatriotic’.

Dr. Mahendra Reddy an Mr. Agni Deo Singh caught in a war of words over comments made by the latter in July. Image: Newswire.
Dr. Mahendra Reddy and Mr. Agni Deo Singh, caught in a war-of-words over comments made by the latter in July. Image: Newswire.

Mr. Agni Deo Singh attended the 7th World Congress on Education (WCE) in Ottawa, Canada.

According to Fiji Sun, Mr. Singh had claimed at the WCE:

Fiji’s democracy was an extension of dictatorship, teachers’ pay was being slashed in half and that Mr. Reddy was a bully.

Dr. Reddy, quoted by Fiji Sun:

They continue to deny the reality that no one’s salary was reduced.  They continue to deny the reality that these new intakes were offered a contract and they signed a contract.

All these teachers were unemployed and some of them had been unemployed for as many as 10 years.

Mr. Singh’s comments are not only misleading but unfortunate for someone who wants to lead an association of teachers.  This is precisely why the teachers of this country have lost faith in him and his leadership.

Such comments on the international forums are uncalled for and quite unpatriotic.  These are the kinds of leaders who put personal interest before national interest.

Mr. Singh, quoted by Fiji Sun:

I had made the statement at the 7th World Congress of Education International in the context of the non-restoration of trade union rights after which we achieved democracy.  That is why we said this is not true democracy achieved.

The second comment I made about the Ministry of Education and about the Minister being a bully, since he has become the Minister, we were hoping that all the sections of dialogue and the union would be restored.  That has not been the case.

Newswire could not verify Mr. Singh’s statement to the WCE.  However, the WCE noted:

The governments in Fiji, Cambodia, and South Korea harass, intimidate and delegalize teacher organisations without any justified causes. It is difficult for trade unions and teachers unions in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Thailand to defend the rights of teachers.

Commits Education International in general to continue building solidarity against the violation of rights in the Asia Pacific Region and in particular continue raising issues of Cambodia and Fiji with the ILO and other relevant institutions.

Calls EI member organisations to influence their respective governments and pressurize the Fijian and Cambodian governments to respect human and trade union rights.

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