FIJI UNIONS PETITION COMMONWEALTH, EU IN AIRPORT DISPUTE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 26, 2002 – Fiji’s Daily Post/FijiLive)---The Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) has called on the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Don McKinnon, to activate consultations between a special envoy with relevant authorities in Fiji on the Airports Fiji Ltd. (AFL) issue.

The letter written to Mr McKinnon reads: "The government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands under the Harare Declaration and the UN Charter is committed to rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights. Following the upheavals of 2000, the Fiji government has given its firm assurance to the CHOGM [Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting], the EU [European Union] and the international community that the rule of law will be respected and fundamental human rights will be protected.

"The FTUC has reported the denial of the right to organize and the defiance of the rule of law by AFL to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth," it said.

In another letter addressed to [EU] Commissioner Poul Nielson, FTUC General Secretary, Felix Anthony has also pointed out the actions of AFL against members of the FPSA [Fiji Public Service Association]. He said the actions went against the spirit of the essential conditions that undermined Fiji's relations with the European Union as reflected in the Cotonou Agreement.

"The development in AFL expressly demonstrate that the Fiji government has defied its commitment to uphold the constitution and expressly deny the right to organize and bargain to members of FPSA," Mr. Anthony wrote.

Commissioner Nielson has been requested to activate consultations under the provisions of the Cotonou Agreement and demand the respect of law and fundamental human rights.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/FijiLive.

For additional reports from FijiLive, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/FijiLive.

 

FIJI UNION LEADER ANTHONY RETURNS WITH AUSTRALIAN SUPPORT

SYDNEY, Australia (February 27, 2002 – Pasifik Nius)---Fiji Trade Union Congress leader Felix Anthony returned to Fiji today having secured the backing of Australia's powerful airline unions for their embattled colleagues at Airport Fiji Limited (AFL).

While in Australia, Anthony also had extended talks with a group of influential MPs from Canberra who flew to Sydney to meet with him.

Leaving Sydney earlier today Anthony said that he discovered that many unions already knew about the problems at Nadi as the civil aviation industry is a truly international workplace.

"There has always been a very good rapport between the Fiji aviation unions and their counterparts in Australia, with assistance at times of industrial tension going back many years," he said.

"I found that the leaders of the Australian unions were disgusted with the way our airport workers have been treated. The Constitutional rights of FPSA members at Nadi in particular, supposedly protected under Section 33 of the Constitution, have been repeatedly violated."

Anthony said that a number of unions have pledged financial, research and industrial support if it is deemed necessary. These unions have taken action in the past to help protect workers rights in Fiji.

"I was pleased to learn that before I had even arrived in Australia groups of rank and file members at Sydney Airport had met, discussed the situation faced by their colleagues at Nadi, and had resolved to support them if requested to do so. More of these meetings are planned next week.

"Our sincere hope is that we don't have to ask for action. It is time that the management of AFL abided by the judicial process and accepted the right of their employees to collective bargaining as it is enshrined in Section 33 of the Constitution. The first step is to talk to the workers' representatives, the Fiji Public Service Association.

"Our Australian colleagues will be watching the situation closely over the next few weeks to see if any progress is made. Then we will be meeting again to make decisions."

Title -- 3546 POLITICS: Fiji union leader returns with Australian support Date -- 27 February 2002 Byline -- None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- dkeeling@bigpond.net.au, 27/2/2 Copyright -- Dkeeling Status – Unabridged

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/  USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/  USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm  Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook 

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