PER Is Being Used to Interfere with Basic Trade Union Rights

Government should move pendulum in right direction
 The Fiji Labour Party website reports that the permit for a meeting of the Vanua Levu Farmers Milling Transport Union, granted by Government on September 15th, was cancelled just one hour before the meeting was due to start on 28th September. Similar last minute cancellations, with no explanation offered, were earlier experienced by the Fiji Trades Union Congress and the Fiji Public Service Association.

The website reports: "Members of the Union have been facing huge problems as a result of the malfunctioning of the mill. Lorries queuing outside the mill for hours on end is a common sight. Lorry drivers have had to put up with long periods of between 48-72 hours to offload when the mill is down due to mechanical problems...[The action denied the union the right] to protect the right of its members to hold meetings to discuss such operational problems and other matters associated with their livelihood."

Comment: In my book, these actions are a misuse of the Public Emergency Regulations.
  • What destabilising, political threat was posed by a group of largely Indo-Fijan Labasa truck owners serving the Labasa sugar mill? 
  • If Government (or is it the Military acting on its own?)  thought the meeting likely to be political, why issue a permit in the first place?
  • If Government was concerned the meeting could become political, why not allow it to go ahead but with a monitor present?  
  • When, if ever, will the union be allowed to meet?  
The cancellation of the permit, especially at such short notice, is a demeaning action that does  nothing to support the Attorney-General's assurances that the Essential Industries Decree, and similar measures, are not anti-union.

Many of the union members are probably supporters of the FLP but my guess is that as late as 2009, most of them would have supported the Bainimarama government. I wonder how many still do?

With so much still in its favour, why does  Government allow such petty, small-minded abuses of power to continue? What is their purpose? And what do they foretell for the future?

Comments

Their purpose is.. said…
1. To remove all opposition
2. To stay in power

Flexing their muscle like this helps them do so.
Yea yea said…
The Public Emergency Regulations are a misuse of power. One can only assume the real purspose is to squash any real (or even perceived) opposition and possible criticism of government.

This government has become over senitive in the extreme to criticism and alternate views. If they really beleived in democracy and they are really going to exclude themeselves from the 2014 election (as they promised they would) then why have a PER ? Why worry so much about critism and alternate views ?
support said…
Come on Croz, You are either for this government or you are against them. Unions have had their chance to sing the praise of the great PM and AG and all the wonderful things they are doing to take Fiji forward but they didn't. They are not pro Fiji and so they should be put out of business. That is how it works in Fiji. Get back on the winning board with unconditional support for the military, this government and a better Fiji !
Anonymous said…
I agree Croz that the PER is being used to interfere with union rights. In fact it is being used to interfere with EVERYONES BASIC RIGHTS.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Support ... No way. I'll applaud Government when it does things which are compatible with the principles of the People's Charter; and I'll criticize them when they don't. This is what all true friends of Government should do, including you.
Ram Sami said…
Well put Croz..

You tell as you see it..

Also slap in the face for those who routinely and unjustifiably criticise you for being pro-Bainimarama govt
Friends of junta said…
Croz
When you say true 'friends of government' do you really mean 'true friends of the military junta'? The junta is in power as it has for one reason only - it has the thugs with guns?

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