The Continued Denial of Human Rights Must Stop – Anthony

The FTUC National Council met on Saturday, the 31st  of August to discuss the decision of Government to deny workers the right to assemble and march. Despite complying with all requirements under the law, FTUC has been denied, for the fourth time, the right to peaceful assembly and march. Members of the Council were very concerned at the denial by the authorities of workers’ fundamental rights and condemned the decision not to issue a permit to march. The Council noted that these rights are also enshrined in the Constitution that this Government has imposed on the people of Fiji. Yet the very people who imposed the Constitution and declared a public holiday to celebrate the Constitution are not prepared to abide by it. This hypocrisy must stop. The Council decided that FTUC must continue to insist on Government respecting workers’ rights and the very fundamentals of true democracy. Government must listen to the people even if it is criticism of Government policy or actions.

The Council also discussed the harassment and intimidation by the police both during the termination of 2075 WAF workers and thereafter, the arrest of 29 workers in Lautoka, and the arrest of Union Leaders in Suva, and the charges laid on the National Secretary of FTUC. The Council condemns the actions of the police and calls on the police to stop the unnecessary intimidation of workers. The police activity has been a total waste of time and resources which can be utilized elsewhere for a better cause. Police in riot gear, numerous vehicles with sirens and continuous presence at protest sites have become a joke.

The FTUC has been protesting against the Government’s decision to impose individual contracts, thus denying workers the right to collective bargaining, a breach of ILO Convention 87 and 98. Other issues include the Labor Law Review, Essential Industries review both of which Government undertook to address in 2015. The issue of right to strike, minimum wage, the termination of 2075 WAF workers being the biggest mass termination of workers in Fiji ever, the Vatukoula strike being the longest in the world, all remain pending. The Council also decided to add to the list of issues that need public attention and protest are the recent actions of police which is condemned and is unwarranted in a democratic society and the recent spate of violence in Parliament against 2 Members of Parliament. The ILO just in June at its 100th Centenary Conference adopted Convention 190 on the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work. Here we have our so-called leaders perpetrating violence and harassment. This must never be condoned irrespective of what position one holds. Fiji has experienced violence, torture and harassment of citizens over the years and the perpetrators have not faced the law. The FTUC recognizes that despite the people of Fiji generally remaining silent in light of the intimidation that they have faced over the years, it does not mean such acts are acceptable. The rule of law must apply to all equally.

The FTUC in light of these serious violations of workers’ rights has, on Saturday,  decided   to reapply for another permit to March and protest on the 2nd of November in Suva. The application was lodged on Friday 6th September 2019 to the DCP Southern, FRA and SCC,  and we hope that unlike in the past, the application will be dealt with, within 7 days as required by law.

 

Felix Anthony

National Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FTUC Youth and Women propose policy changes to their Terms of Reference

 

A total of  29  representatives from the FTUC Youth and Women’s Committee participated in a one day joint programme to review their Terms of Reference at Novotel Hotel Nadi on the 3rd of August 2019.

This was the first ever collaboration between the International Trade Union Confederation Asia Pacific  and the FTUC Youth and Women’s Committees. The  representatives from the ITUC AP Office , Sis Anna Lee Tuvera, Director, Gender Equality Department and Sis Keiko ,  Senior Youth Officer were the invited guests and  who made this collaboration possible

The  joint activity was opened by the National Secretary FTUC Mr Felix Anthony who emphasized on the critical need for active involvement of the youth and women in union activities. He also highlighted the fact that youth and women needed to come forward to take up leadership opportunities and empower themselves. The Board member responsible for Youth Activities Bro Semisi Turagabaleti and Sis Teresa Ali who is in charge of Communications.

The programme was facilitated  by a team of all female activists: Sis  Jotika Sharma , Executive Officer FTUC and head of workers programmes, Sis Latee Gaga, Assistant National Secretary of the FTUC and the Board member responsible for Workers Activities, Sis Keiko, Senior Youth Officer and Sis Anna Lee Tuvera, Director, Gender Equality of the ITUC AP.

FTUC Women’s Committee representatives with Sis Anna Lee Tuvera (seated centre). 

FTUC Youth Committee reps with Sis Keiko  (ITUC AP) and Bro Semisi Turagabaleti ( FTUC)

The Committee Chairs presented their proposal on the Terms of Reference for comments by the experts from the ITUC AP office and FTUC.  Sis Anna made a presentation on the Platform of Gender Equality  and on the Terms of Reference of the ITUC AP Women’s Committee TOR.  She also shared examples of actions led by other Womens Committee in the region.

 

Statistics on the youth population and its composition in the workforce was highlighted by the ITUC AP Senior Youth Officer Sis Keiko. She also informed the participants on the ITUC AP Youth Charter from which the FTUC Youth Committee could adopt thematic areas for their workplan.

 

The joint programme concluded with several recommendations put forward and discussed as part of a holistic review of the Terms of References.  The Committee will incorporate the proposals and make a presentation to the National Council on August 31st.

The participants were awarded certificates for their participation in this joint program made possible by the ITUC AP.

Police assures no intimidation for peaceful assembly- Anthony

The National Secretary Mr Felix  Anthony met with Police today  to share his concerns on ongoing police intimidation and harassment of union leaders and workers.  This meeting called by the Police comes just a day before the planned gatherings by unions and workers around the country after a application to march was denied.

The Police have assured that they will not intervene in cases of a peaceful assembly.   The Police confirmed that they will monitor  the protests to ensure  safety and security of the general public.

Workers are encouraged to meet at the venues below with their families and friends and participate in the days activities.

TIME TO STAND UP!!!!!

 Join Workers Gatherings

From 10:00am, Saturday, 10th August, 2019

Our six campaign issues are :

  1. Government’s unilateral decision to impose fixed term individual contracts for civil servants, teachers, and nurses and for workers in other government owned entities.
  2. Government’s decision to impose an unjustified $2.68 minimum wage for workers. Our demand remains $4.00 an hour.
  3. Government’s decision to renege on the agreement signed between FTUC, FCEF, government and ILO to review the labour laws to ensure full respect for workers’ rights and implement Committee of Experts recommendations.
  4. The workers’ right to freely conduct secret ballot and the right to strike.
  5. Delay in addressing FASA Issues and now NUW- WAF 2075 terminations
  6. Longstanding Vatukoula Strike

At the following locations:

 i). Suva : FTU Car park, Berry Rd , 10:00 am – 12.00 noon.

 

ii). Nadi : NUHCTIE Office, 15 Sharma Street, 10.00 am – 5.00pm.

 

iii). Lautoka:  NUW Property opposite Westpac,  10.00am – 5.00pm.

All workers and their families are invited to join us. Well-wishers, NGOs and   any other institution supporting our cause are welcome to join. This is the time for workers to stand up for their rights. We stand for dignity at work and decent work for all.

 

        Felix Anthony

National Secretary

 

No response from police on application for permit to march and rally- FTUC National Secretary

 

The delay in processing the application for permit and lack of response from the police raises serious questions about the efficiency of the police department. Several emails and daily follow up calls after the expiry of 7 days proved futile as staff referred all queries to the Commissioner of Police who was not reachable. Some of our calls were also not picked up as we try to obtain a response to our application.

Today we have submitted this letter to Brigadier-General, Mr. Sitiveni Tukaituraga Qiliho  expressing  our  concern on the ongoing delay  in the processing of our permit application for a protest march and rally.

The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) granted its consent for use of the Suva streets on Monday, 8 July, 2019. Similarly, the Suva City Council granted approval for the use the Sukuna Park on Friday, 12 July, 2019.

The application for a permit to hold a protest march and rally at Sukuna Park on the 10th of August, was lodged on Monday, 1st of July, 2019. It has now been 35 days since the application was first filed and we are just 4 days away from our planned protests.

This planned march and rally is planned to advocate on the  six campaigns of FTUC.  These 6 issues are as follows:

  1. National Minimum Wage
  2. Delay in Labour law Reforms
  3. Right to Strike
  4. Vatukoula Strike
  5. FASA Issues
  6. Opposing Unilateral imposition of Individual Contracts

These are very fundamental rights of every worker in Fiji.

We urge the police department to expedite the processing and approval of our permit application so that we have it in hand by early this week in exercising our fundamental rights this Saturday, 10th August, 2019.

 

Felix Anthony

National Secretary