Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) National Secretary and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) President Paddy Crumlin has strongly condemned the Bainimarama regime’s decree that removes the rights of Fijian trade unions and their members.
The Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree 2011 requires existing unions to re-registerunder new rules, makes existing collective bargaining agreements void and all but eliminates the right to strike - in any industry that the government may designate at any time.
The decree was enacted late on Friday by the Bainimarama regime. The Fiji TradeUnion Congress says the laws effectively abolish all trade unions in Fiji and also effectively ban any public meeting of any type – including for worship at many churches.
“We condemn the action of the Fijian military dictatorship in the strongest possible terms. The human rights of all Fijians are being crushed by the Bainimarama regime,” Mr Crumlin said.
"We're taking solidarity action in conjunction with international unions, human rights activists and communitysupport groups.
“Unionists around the world are outraged by the continued repression of human and workers' rights by the Bainimarama military regime.”
Fiji has been under a military dictatorship since 2006. In 2009 the Public Emergency Regulation gave powers to the government to ban any and all assembly in Fiji.
Specific articles of the regulation gave police sweeping authority to limit freedom of movement and to arrest and detain citizens. The military government has also issued several decrees specifically aimed at curtailing labour rights.
“This is an international disgrace,” Mr Crumlin said. “We are closely watching what happens in Fiji and will judge harshly the actions of any company that uses the decree to undermine wages,conditions or union rights.
“The MUA and ITF have a long history of fighting for the rights of union members around the world and wewon't be stopping now.”
The MUA and other Australian unions have been part of ongoing solidarity action and support for Fijian unionists.
You can read the ITF's media release HERE.
Act Now to support Fijian workers and their unions. Click here to join LabourStart's campaign - fill out the form which only takes a few seconds to send a message to the Fijian Military Dictatorship.