FIJI REGIME ACCUSED OF TRYING TO WEAKEN UNIONS

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Union official returns from trip down under

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 31, 2011) – Fiji's military-led government has been accused of waging a campaign to wipe out union activity in the country.

The national secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Felix Anthony, has sought support from international colleagues to fight new laws restricting union rights in Fiji.

Last week, the Fijian government's Attorney-General accused Mr Anthony of disloyalty to the country and said he was potentially endangering Fiji's economy and jobs.

Mr Anthony has recently returned from a tour of Australia, New Zealand and Europe, during which he sought support from foreign unionists.

He has told Pacific Beat despite concerns, there was no trouble from authorities on his return to Fiji.

But he says the situation for union members remains serious.

"Just last Friday we've had the government make an announcement that it was going to withdraw the deduction of union subscriptions from public sector workers," he said.

"This is a clear indication to us that the government continues its efforts to try and weaken unions in Fiji and... to decimate them altogether."

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