Australian unions have condemned the Fiji military regime’s declaration of a draconian new decree as a blatant attack on workers’ rights.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said the illegal and unelected government led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama was increasingly defiant in the face of international criticism and must restore constitutional rights immediately.
The Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree, declared on Friday, seeks to:
Ban all strikes, slowdowns, sick actions or any action that may negatively impact the employer;
Ban unions from representing workers in negotiating collective bargaining outcomes;
Void all current collective agreements within 60 days;
Provide that after 60 days any strike or lockout may take place only with the written authority of the Minister;
Ban overtime payments, including for weekend work, work on days off, and work on public holidays unless agreed by the employer;
Cancel all current Wages Council Orders regarding minimum terms and conditions of work in designated industries;
Require that all members, office bearers, officers and executives of the union shall be employees of the designated company;
Applies to all Government owned industries and any other that the Minister may designate.
“It is becoming increasingly unsafe for workers in Fiji to stand up for their rights, which are being removed systematically by Bainimarama,” Ms Kearney said. “Australian unions will not sit back and allow the rights of Fijian workers to be trampled by this military regime and we call on the Fiji regime to revoke this decree.”
The declaration of the decree comes after the recent arrest of the President of the Trades Union Congress, Daniel Urai, apparently for having met with union members about collective negotiations with hotel management.
The repressive Fiji actions have prompted a web campaign by LabourStart and Australian unions, with thousands of unionists from here and across the globe already sending protest emails to the Bainimarama Government.