The harassment and intimidation of workers and their representatives in the Fijian trade union movement indicates to us that there is still much to be done to ensure the voice of independent civil society is again heard freely, loudly and clearly in this proud Pacific Island nation.
The IndustriALL Global Union has passed a unanimous resolution censoring the military regime for its attacks on workers’ rights and the democratic rights of all Fijians.
The Fijian union movement is one of the last, organized, strong and independent institutions prepared to confront the violent excesses of a regime which, in a very religious nation, has even banned church meetings because they are afraid of the consequences of citizens meeting to decide their own futures.
The Fijian union movement is also one of the strongest voices against racism and discrimination - especially racism against the large Indo-Fijian Pacific island population.
It is because of the strength and importance of Fijian unions that several leaders, such as the Fiji TUC President, Daniel Urai, and the Fiji TUC Secretary, Felix Anthony, have been regularly targeted, arrested, beaten up in police cells, their families threatened, and treason charges leveled against them.
The resolution reads:
We commend the Fijian unions plans to come together as one national union movement, as one more important step in the struggle to end the military dictatorship.
We call on IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates to highlight the Fijian struggle to our respective governments and work together with the ITUC to strengthen global actions to:
- End the vicious attacks and victimization of trade unions in Fiji
- Demand the military regime immediately return the nation to civilian control, and to adopt democratic norms allow a free media
- Eliminate the legislation, specifically the Essential National Industries Employment Decree and the Public Emergency Regulations violate fundamental labour and human rights that are in breach of core Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labour Organization to which Fiji is a signatory.