Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Post Fiji Strike: Military Intimidation Continues

Behind the scenes of the Post Fiji strike

source: intelligentsiya.blogspot.com

After the lightning strike by Post Fiji workers around the country on Friday over the sudden resignation of their Managing Director Peni Mau, the only indigenous Fijian manager to accompany the team to Government Buildings to discuss the standoff with the military government was taken away by soldiers to Queen Elizabeth Barracks for a talking to.

He was “questioned” for about an hour after being taken from the Post Office in Suva by two plain clothes military personnel. He was put in a cell at QEB and reportedly roughed up although not too badly as he recognized most of the soldiers.

The man was interrogated by Land Force Commander Colonel Pita Driti who grilled the manager on why the senior management of Post Fiji wanted Peni Mau back. Following the questioning he was returned to the Post Office where his wife had been waiting for him.

Intelligentsiya sources say the Post Fiji senior management convinced the rest of the Post Fiji staff (about300) to stop work on Friday to protest the board’s decision to force Mau out. They put forward two points – removal of the board and the return of Peni Mau.

The stop-work action was initiated by the senior management, and agreed upon by the rest of the staff, including the union members.

It was agreed that this would not be a union movement but a walkout by ALL staff over the two points mentioned.

The military were called in and some staff suspect it was by the two women at the Post Fiji Suva office who were the only ones to object to the strike.

The senior management were taken to Acting Commander Navy Captain Esala Teleni’s office to explain the move. Teleni opened the meeting by raging at them about how a strike was illegal and about the problems it would cause for the management and staff in general. He then invited them to explain themselves.

After explaining that this wasn't a union action and therefore could not be illegal under any Constitution, their request was put to the interim government via Teleni to have the Post Fiji board removed along with chairman Mahendra Patel and to reinstate Peni Mau.

Teleni promised them that 'they' had been looking at removing the chairman anyway and would give them what they wanted by the following Friday.

Both parties then agreed that all postal workers would return to work, which they did later that afternoon.

Now it's a waiting game to see what'll happen by Friday.

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