Fiji: action by four governments requested by unions

 

The TUC has joined with sister organisations in Australia, New Zealand and the USA to press our respective governments to take action over restrictions on union rights imposed by the military dictatorship that runs Fiji. These include restrictions on freedom of assembly, association and collective bargaining which have reduced workers' rights and led to arrests and trials of Fiji's trade unions.

 

In January, the regime scrapped its hated and restrictive public order restrictions, but immediately replaced them with further restrictions, which have, for example, prevented unions and the Methodist Church from holding meetings. Laws introduced last year restrict collective bargaining and remove workers' rights such as maternity leave and holiday entitlements. Together, these restrictive laws have made it very difficult for unions to function. But in addition, the leaders of the FTUC have been harassed, arrested and banned from travel.

 

Fiji is currently suspended from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islamds Forum, and the EU has suspended aid. Four governments in particular have formed a 'quartet' to pressurise the regime to restore democracy and human rights.

 

In a letter to the foreign ministers of the four countries the TUC, ACTU, NZCTU and AFLCIO call for a series of measures including sanctions targeted on the leaders of the regime, reviewing trade preferences, and reconsidering the UN's use of Fijian armed forces as peace-keepers.

 

The TUC has asked the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to raise these matters with his opposite numbers in Europe, too.

 

Owen Tudor

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