PER Is Being Used to Interfere with Basic Trade Union Rights
|Government should move pendulum in right direction|
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?
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?