Fiji Unions Meet With International Labour Organization Mission

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Team investigating freedom of association restrictions

By Shalveen Chand

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 10, 2014) – Unions met the visiting International Labour Organisation's direct contact mission team over the week to give their views on how their freedom of association has been denied by the Government.

The team arrived last week in Fiji to verify complaints by local trade unions on the lack of freedom of association, which include complaints regarding the Essential National Industries Decree and other labour associated laws.

The Fiji Trades Union Congress confirmed they met the mission.

Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions acting general secretary Kamlesh Kumar also confirmed they too had made submissions and answered questions.

He said the union talked of matters affecting each of their affiliates.

In June, a decision to send a team to Fiji after the general election was made by the ILO in its session of the governing body.

A tripartite delegation from Fiji, including the then-Labour Minister Jone Usamate, unionist Daniel Urai and employer representative Harvey Probert were present at the meeting.

ILO, in its June meeting, also noted there was a need to look into claims made by trade unions but also noted that certain trade unionists in Fiji were using workers' rights, the ILO and its governing body to further their personal agenda.

Attempts to obtain a comment from the Minister for Employment Jioje Konrote yesterday proved futile.

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