Samoa’s Public Service Association Investigates CEO Dismissals

"We would like our own firm evidence as to reasons for the dismissal of these CEOs"

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Samoa’s workers union of public servants say they will launch their own investigation into  government Chief Executive Officers who have recently been suspended, resigned or terminated.

PSA President Karameli Leiataua Tuala.

Speaking to the media after a Saturday morning gathering attended by over 300 public servants, PSA President Karameli Leiataua Tuala said the association would like to gather its own evidence to inform their position.

⁴”We would like our own firm evidence as to reasons for the dismissal of these CEOs,” said the President.

“E fia maua ni matou evidence maumaututu i mafuaaga ua faamalolo ai CEO nei.”

Tuala said the main purpose for the PSA meeting was to gauge members’ views on CEOs and heads of Ministries being removed.

Tuutuuileloloto Hall was
packed with PSA members Saturday morning 4 Sept 2021.

“O le autu o le fonotaga i le aso o le faaalia o finagalo o members o le PSA i le issue o le faamaloloina o nisi o CEO, poo ulu o matagaluega.”

Since the FAST administration has come into power five government CEO positions have become vacant for various reasons, while one – the CEO of the National Kidney Foundation  has had his contract renewed.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa has said the FAST government does not have intention nor a policy to remove government CEOs and as an incoming administration, they hope to work with Samoa’s public servants.

Long serving public servant and Chairman of Samoa’s Public Service Commission (PSC), Aiono Mose Su’a handed in his resignation before FAST took over office in July. Aiono’s contract had ended, and he was on an extention to await a new Government after elections.

The CEO for the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (MWCSD) Afamasaga Faauiga Palepua Mulitalo was relieved of her duties on the 6th of August 2021. The three year contract date had also passed for Afamasaga and at the time, the Minister of MWCSD said it is the policy, and so it is not unusual for a CEO to retire when the contract of employment ends, and then reapply when the post is advertised.

Samoa’s Police Commissioner  Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil handed in his resignation on the 23rd of August effective immediately and on the same week, the CEO of the Finance Ministry Leasiosiofaasisina Oscar Malielegaoi said he was forced to resign with a 24 hour notice period.

Last Thursday Prime Minister Fiame advised the Head of State to remove the Attorney General Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale as AG after an impasse was reached, as outlined in the PMs media release. Meantime a decision has not been publicised regarding the Clerk of the House Tiatia Lima Graeme Tualaulelei.

At the PSA meeting, Savalenoa, Leasiosiofaasisina and Afamasaga were all in attendance as was Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei.

The President of PSA said there are over 650 registered members of the PSA and despite questions about their being inactive, much of PSA’s work is done behind the scenes and cannot be publicised.

“Some members did raise concerns for PSA being inactive for so many years..

“PSA has been here but we’ve worked low key,” added the President.

PSA’s Vice President and Treasurer is Margret Fruean while its other active members are Julia Liu Kurt and Faamanatu Tikeri.

Samoa has two separate legislations covering workers – the Public Servant Act and the Labour and Employment Relations Act covering private sector workers.

Samoa ratified all 8 core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in June 2008 in a commitment that includes Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organise Convention and the Descrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention.

Samoa ratified all 8 ILO core conventions under the time of Lemalu Tate Simi as Commissioner of Labour in 2008.

Samoa is an active member of the UN Tripartite Forum where employers, workers unions and government work together towards agreed Decent Work Country Programs. Decent Work commitments are signed with the overarching goal of providing an environment so everyone benefits from “working conditions that offer freedom, equity, security and human dignity”.