Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fiji Military Regime Condemned


Big Pond News - 14 August 2011


ACTU president Ged Kearney has slammed the Fiji military regime for shutting down a meeting of union leaders in the nation.
The Fiji Trades Union Congress (FUTC) was to hold its national council meeting on Saturday at a local hotel.
FUTC national secretary Felix Anthony said the meeting was abandoned after police intervened and dispersed delegates, saying the permit to hold it had been revoked.
'Delegates were even denied by the police to have morning tea at the hotel and directed that everyone leave the hotel premises,' Mr Anthony said in a statement.
'This revocation of the permit comes soon after the Attorney General gave assurance to people of Fiji through the media that unions intending to hold meetings should apply for a permit and that it would be granted.'
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) said it was the latest in a series of incidents including the arrest of FTUC president Daniel Urai and another union official for meeting holiday resort workers seeking a collective agreement.
The military regime pushed through a new decree restricting workers rights last month, which the FTUC was meeting to discuss on Saturday.
The Essential National Industries (Employment) decree bans all industrial action, bans unions from representing workers, voids all collective agreements, and scraps minimum wages, conditions and overtime pay.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said the action to prevent the FTUC from meeting was disgraceful.
'The situation for workers in Fiji is just going from bad to worse,' Ms Kearney said.
'The world cannot allow this abuse and disregard of human and workers rights to continue.'
Australian unions are monitoring the developments in Fiji closely and talking to international counterparts about ways to put pressure on the regime to restore respect for human rights, Ms Kearney said.
The meeting organised for Saturday followed a discussion between the FTUC and an International Labour Organisation delegation.

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