November 08, 2011

Global Union bodies gear up to pressure military regime

Just as the illegal and treasonous military regime were beginning to pat themselves on the back for illegally keeping union officials muzzled and restrained, they once again show their plain incompetence and simpleness for playing right into their hands.

As the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) launches their warning, the regime and their cohorts today welcome first-time visitors and tourism agents from Europe.

It is understood that Essential Industries Employment Decree has come into force and restricts workers rights by:
•Banning unions from representing workers in negotiating collective bargaining outcomes;
•Making void all current collective agreements;
•Banning overtime payments, including for weekend work, work on days off, and work on public holidays;
•Removing minimum wages, terms and conditions of work in designated industries;
•Banning all strikes, slowdowns, or any action that may negatively impact the employer;
•Requiring that all members, office bearers, officers and executives of the union shall be employees of the designated company

ITF demands Fiji union leader's release 
4 November 2011 
Global union the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today demanded the immediate release of arrested Fijian union leader Felix Anthony. Anthony is general secretary of the Fiji Trade Union Congress and the ITF-affiliated Fiji Sugar and General Workers’ Union. 
The arrest follows his long running campaign to warn about the Fijian government’s plans to muzzle the country’s free trade union movement. 
In September Fiji’s military-led government implemented a decree designed to virtually outlaw trade union activities. The Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree 2011 was enacted despite months of protests and warnings across the Asia Pacific region that it is illegal, indefensible and greatly inhibits any attempt to return the nation to democracy. 
Already this year several trade unionists have been arrested or beaten up. In March Felix Anthony reported that he had been attacked by military officers, leading to international trade union protests. 
Reacting to his arrest, ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “It’s just a few months since Felix was here in Sydney to warn us that the Fijian government was looking for ways to crush key unions. He knew the risks he faced for drawing attention to their plans but it didn’t stop him returning home to keep up the fight. Now it’s got him arrested. On behalf of all of those he met I can promise that we will now be taking up the fight on his behalf.” 
David Cockroft, ITF general secretary, added: “We expect and demand nothing less than a speedy release from detention for Felix. Trade unions are at this moment mobilising to shame and pressure the Fijian government. 
Tony Sheldon, national secretary of the Transport Workers Union of Australia (TWU) said: “This is a desperate move by a despotic regime. We can promise them that our union, global unions and unions worldwide will ensure that the rights of workers will be defended.” 
Fiji’s government was installed by a coup in 2006. In 2009 the then president suspended the country’s constitution, dismissed the Court of Appeal and introduced public emergency regulations. These restrict freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly and have reportedly been used alongside a campaign of intimidation to silence opposition. 
For more information contact ITF press officer, Sam Dawson. 
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7940 9260. 
International Transport Workers' Federation - ITF: 
ITF House, 49 - 60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DS 
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7403 2733 
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7375 7871 

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