“The Right to Freedom of Association and Assembly is the corner stone of a vibrant democracy” – Ms Singh

      NGO Coalition on Human Rights

 

Towards a Fiji that respects and protects human rights

 NGOCHR calls for Protection of Workers’ Rights

2/05/19

 The NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) strongly condemns the harassment and arrests of trade unionists yesterday and stands in solidarity with the workers of Fiji.

 

“Workers and unionists should not be victimised or penalised for freely expressing their Freedom of Association and voicing their employment issues,” said NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh.

In the past few days, union representatives were taken into custody and detained by police including workers from the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF).  Workers from WAF raised issues and questions regarding their contracts and termination of employment but this culminated with the involvement of riot police and a series of arrests.  This also occurred in light of a planned  peaceful demonstration by the Fiji Trades Union Congress this Friday to highlight workers’ issues including the national minimum wage, labour law reforms, the Right to Strike, Federated Airlines Staff Association (FASA) issues and opposing unilateral imposition of individual contracts.

“It is shocking and disgraceful that instead of celebrating International Workers’ Rights Day, also known as International Labour Day on May 1, it was marked with the detainment of workers and unionists,” said Ms. Singh.

“This is a blatant attack on workers’ rights and curtails the progress Fiji has made in human rights and democracy. ,” she added.

The NGOCHR calls for the protection of workers’ rights and the release of workers and unionists who have been detained by police.

“We urge authorities to protect workers’ rights and encourage peaceful negotiations with the workers to hear their issues and come to a solution that benefits everyone,” said Ms. Singh.

NGOCHR stands in solidarity with the workers of Fiji and the trade unions.

 

For more information and media queries contact info@fwrm.org.fj or phone 8677330.

 

Members of the NGOCHR include the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC), Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF), FemLink Pacific and Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA). Pacific Network on Globalization (PANG), Social Empowerment and Education Program (SEEP), Haus of Khameleon (HoK) and Diverse Voices and Action for Equality Fiji (DIVA) are observers.

 

           

Sere (1)

Continued Intimidation and Harassment of Unions leads to deferment of National Day of Protest and March

Fiji:  7:30pm

Continued Intimidation and Harassment of Unions leads to deferment of

 National Day of Protest and March 

The FTUC Executive Board held an Emergency meeting this afternoon at 3pm. This meeting was interrupted by at least 8 criminal investigations department officials who came to search the office of the FTUC National Secretary and the Headquarters. The National Secretary was also brought to the FTUC Headquarters for the search. the meeting reconvened at 640pm after the search.

 

The Board unanimously noting that:

  1. The National Secretary Felix Anthony continues to be unlawfully detained,
  2. Several trade union leaders, the 29 union members and 2 union staff were harassed and unlawfully detained, of these 2 trade union leaders and 1 union staff have since been released.
  3. The continued intimidation of union members and workers by the police at centers around the country particularly the FTUC Headquarters where police were present throughout the day,
  4. Refusal of permit by the Fiji Roads Authority to use the road for the Protest March planned for Saturday, 4th of May 2019.
  5. Questioning of FTUC Staff and search of the HQ Premises, all offices and confiscation of storage devices, documents and computer.

Decided to defer the May 3rd Protest & May 4th Protest March until further notice.

The Board is confident that the FTUC has already received huge media attention than had been initially anticipated both locally and internationally. The FTUC will continue to lobby for the six issues that have been part of its campaign for the past years.

 

The Board also acknowledges the continued immense support from local and international institutions, affiliates of the FTUC, the international and regional trade union fraternity, civil society organizations and the general public, well wishers and legal fraternity.  We receive with gratitude the initiatives of our supporters worldwide  to exert pressure for the release of our national trade union leader.

 

All affiliates, and those solidarity-support  institutions  that  participate in our  protests are strongly urged to take note of the deferment of the two planned activities and await further advice.

 

FTUC National Executive Board

 May 2nd 2019 

International Trade Union Confederation demands immediate release of Anthony

The ITUC has written to the Prime Minister seeking the release of the National Secretary of  the FTUC.

In an immediate release post Mr Anthony’s  arrest, the General Secretary of the ITUC Ms Sharan Burrow in the protest letter stated that ” freedom of association is the primary safeguards of peace and social justice. The workers have the right to express their views and to defend their interests, including  through peaceful demonstration, in an atmosphere free of fear, intimidation, coercion, repression and violence.”  

Read  full statement here:

ITUC protest letter following arrest Felix Anthony

Harassment of trade union officials continue

 

“According to what I gathered during the interview, we were questioned about our decision to be part of the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) protest march that is scheduled later this week,” Mr Manumanunitoga claimed”.

 Read full article here:  Police Question FTA Members-The Fiji Times

A report on FijiVillage states that :

FTA General Secretary, Paula Namanumanunitoga says some other executives are also expected to be questioned as there were 11 people on a list given by Police.

Namanumanunitoga who was one of those questioned says he was given a list of questions about their Annual General Meeting and it included whether FTUC National Secretary, Felix Anthony made a presentation at the AGM.