September 07, 2012

FLP to work with Mineworkers Union

September 06, 2012 12:31:42 PM

Fiji’s Labour Party (FLP) has pledged its support to assist the Fiji Mine Workers Union (FMWU) put into effect their claims in relation to a 21-year-old strike.

The party’s comment follows a FMWU meeting earlier this week where they decided they will only campaign and back a political party committed to help them in their cause fighting against harsh working conditions at the Emperor Goldmine in Vatukoula.

The strike, one that has also been noted in the Guinness World Record as one of the longest in the world began on 27 February 1991 involving 436 workers who also voiced their displeasure against the government of the day then for failing to recognise the workers’ body as a union.

FLP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhry told FijiLive they are aware of the mine workers' plight and concerns.

“We will definitely assist them, not in the intention to get their votes but to assist them as they have suffered long enough,” said Chaudhry.

“Not only that there are also some members of the union who are active members of the party. We would have helped them in 1999 when FLP came into office but was not successful because of the 2000 incident.”

FMWU president Joseva Sadreu said, “The 436 miners represented more than 436 families which now include two other generations of voting age.

“The union members come from all over Fiji and would represent a significant proportion of the voting public,” said Sadreu.

He said FMWU was established in light of the decision of the Fiji Court of Appeal in 2006 that the solution to the strike was in the hands of the government of the day.

“We will campaign vigorously and vote for any political party that undertakes to abide by the Court of Appeal decision that the recommendations of the 1995 G.P Lala Commission of Inquiry into work and conditions at Vatukoula, and our claims for human rights, can be accepted, respected, and acted upon by the government.”

FMWU had made their submissions to the Constitution Commission last week.

The Fiji Labour Party, Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua, United People’s Party, newly formed National Youth Party are among parties who have confirmed they will stand in the 2014 election.

By Ropate Valemei

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