Fiji Regime Bans Trade Unionists And Public Servants From Politics

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) will be calling on the Australian and global governments to rethink their diplomatic relationships with the Fijian government after the announcement of a decree, which bans trade unionists from running as candidates in the 2014 elections.

Image - bainimarama finger uniform.jpeg  
[Picture: Commodore Bainimarama]  

The Fijian government has also announced that trade union officials, as well as public servants, are barred from belonging to a political party in next year’s election.

This new decree follows by only one week the regime's decision to dump a draft constitution, which would pave the way towards democratic rights for the people of Fiji.

MUA National Secretary and ITF President, Paddy Crumlin said the latest decree by Commodore Bainimarama provides further evidence that the current government has no interest in a return to democracy.

"What we're seeing now is the regime making it very clear that it pretty much intends to do what it wants without any sanction by the people of Fiji," Crumlin stated.

“The Constitution was an opportunity to restore democratic rights to Fijians, but the fight for those democratic rights is far from over,” said Crumlin. 

“It is of great concern that the regime’s own proposed constitution will ratify repression of workers rights, repression that the military regime has regularly meted out against workers.”

Under the new law, existing parties have 28 days to re-register under the new terms, or they face being shut down.

Parties now have to sign up 5,000 members across the country’s four divisions, which is up from the current 180 —significantly raising the bar for political activity to flourish.

The new ruling also calls for the transparency of party finances and it bans donations from private companies.

“The rejection of the constitution and new decree by the government means that the Fijian people will continue to suffer under the controlling and repressive military regime,” added Crumlin.

 “The MUA and ITF will be calling on the Australian government and other governments around the globe to reassess their diplomatic relationship with the Bainimarama military regime,” Crumlin said.

Crumlin unequivocally stated that, “The MUA and ITF stands in solidarity with the Fijian workers and union leaders who are determined to take back democratic rights and freedoms.”

ACTU Media Release: Unions call for strong action against latest Fijian Military Dictatorship decree