AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND SAY FIJI UNIONS UNDER THREAT

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Decrees implemented are silencing workers

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 31, 2011) - Fears are being expressed in the trade union movement in New Zealand and Australia over the fate of unions in Fiji.

The Secretary of the New Zealand council of Trade Unions, Peter Conway, says the decrees being implemented are about silencing opposition.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has also voiced opposition to moves in Fiji it says are an attack on the rights of workers.

In a statement, its President, Ged Kearney, said the regime had adopted intimidation tactics to instill fear in workers and trade unions.

Mr. Conway says his organization has contacted colleagues in Australia and the international trade union confederation and there is a determination to step up the support for unions in Fiji:

"What form that will take have to wait and see, but we have to do more than what we are doing at the moment, we accept that. It is very serious this is about wiping out the trade union movement in Fiji and we have to support them."

Union activities and the ability to meet with workers are restricted under public emergency regulations.

[PIR editor’s note: In a separate report, former Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry expresses doubts that in the near future any trade union movement will have effective powers to protect welfare of workers.]

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