PRESS RELEASE: TRADE UNIONS UNITE
The Executives of Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions (FICTU) and Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) met today following ongoing discussions between the two National Centers and decided to Unite. The Parties discussed the unity process and agreed that a follow-up meeting will be held on the 23rd October in Suva to make the final preparations to merge the two organizations.
Leaders of both organizations recognize the huge challenge that face workers in Fiji with an openly hostile Government that only seeks to weaken Trade Unions. In fact, the current Government has attempted to kill the trade union movement all together with the Essential National Industries (ENI) Decree, Public Service Amendment Decree, the Public Order Amendment Decree and through other legislations. Today a huge number of workers have no collective bargaining rights which includes all civil servants. Government has unilaterally imposed new conditions of employment in the Education Sector, Medical services and in other Government owned entities. Jobs today are more insecure than ever before. Workers’ right to strike has been curtailed and denied. Today it is impossible to even conduct secret ballots for industrial action as the Permanent Secretary habitually refuses to supervise any ballots. The Elections Office imposes new rules on election of Union Office bearers as they wish, which we believe is interference into the internal affairs of the Unions. Government is attempting to control unions. Trade Unionists are not allowed to participate in politics or even be a member of a political party. A clear denial of our fundamental human rights. The list goes on.
Having considered all these, both FICTU and FTUC have decided to unite. All FICTU affiliates will rejoin the FTUC. A National Council Meeting of FTUC will be held on Saturday, 27th October 2018 where all affiliates of FICTU will be welcomed back into FTUC. We are extremely concerned at the sad state of affairs in Industrial Relations and the fact that Government only gives lip service to Tripartism and generally to workers of Fiji. We seek to unite to ensure that we stand up for workers in Fiji with one voice and ensure that workers’ rights are fully respected and implemented. We shall continue to strive for decent work and dignity at work.
The FTUC records its appreciation to the Executives of FICTU and in particular the efforts of Mr. Attar Singh, the past Secretary of FICTU in the unity talks.