Fiji: Withdraw anti-union laws, respect workers’ rights
Fiji’s military government has dramatically stepped up its harassment of trade unionists. Recently FTUC President Daniel Urai was arrested for holding an ‘illegal’ meeting, and his trial is due to start on 2 September. Meetings of the FTUC itself have also been prevented. Fiji has been under a military dictatorship since 2006, as a result of which Fiji has been suspended from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum.
The European Union has also suspended overseas aid payments to the regime. Leaders and activists of the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) have been assaulted or detained on several occasions. In February, Felix Anthony, General Secretary of the FTUC and of the Sugar Workers’ Union affiliated to the ITF and the IUF was taken from home by three uniformed military officers and subjected to threats. His family including children were also threatened. A new government decree issued on 29 July will, ‘effectively abolish all trade unions in Fiji’, according to the FTUC. Fiji has ratified the two relevant core ILO Conventions – Convention 98(1974) and Convention 87 (2002) and is obliged to observe the workers’ rights enshrined in them.
Moreover, as a member state of the ILO, the Government of Fiji has an obligation to adhere to the Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work adopted by the ILO in 1998.
We call upon your Government to withdraw all anti-union laws, starting with Decree 35 of 2011 on Essential National Industries (Employment), as it clearly contravenes the ILO Conventions ratified by your country by restricting trade union activity. We also demand the withdrawal of the case against Mr Daniel Urai, President of the Fiji Trades Union Congress on charges of unlawful assembly. We urge you to ensure that the people of Fiji are allowed to exercise their democratic rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of association without interference from the State.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION HERE: